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VV 



THE 



ODYSSEY OF HOMER, 



TRANSLATED BY 



ALEXANDER POPE, 



WITH NOTES AND INTRODUCTION 



REV. THEODORE ALOIS BUCKLEY, M.A., F.S.A. 



FLAXMAN'S DESIGNS 



NEW YORK: 

JOHN WURTELE LOVELL, PUBLISHER, 
14 & 16 ASTOR PLACE. 
1880. 



CONTENTS. 



THE ODYSSEY. 

BOOK I. 

PAGE. 
Minerva's Descent to Ithaca 7 

BOOK II. 
The Council of Ithaca 21 

' 

BOOK III. 
The Interview of Telemachus and Nestor 33 

BOOK IV. 
The Conference with Menelaus 47 

BOOK V. 
The Departure of Ulysses from Calypso 72 



BOOK VI. 



BOOK VII. 
The Court of Alcinous 96 

BOOK VIII 106 

BOOK IX- 
The Adventures of the Cicons, Lotophagi, and Cyclops 121 



BOOK X. 



BOOK XI. 



The Descent into Hell. 



152 



2055851 



CONTENTS. 



BOOK XII. 

PAGE. 
The Sirens, Scylla, and Charybdis 172 

BOOK XIII, 
The Arrival of Ulysses in Ithaca 185 

BOOK XIV. 
The Conversation with Eumasus ;; 197 

BOOK XV. 
The Return of Telemachus 211 

BOOK XVI. 
The Discovery of Ulysses to Telemachus 225 

BOOK XVII 337 



BOOK XVIII. 
The Fight of Ulysses and Irus v 253 

BOOK XIX. 
The Discovery of Ulysses to Euryclea 264 

BOOK XX , 280 

BOOK XXI. 



The Banding of Ulysses' Bow 293 

BOOK XXII. 
The Death of the Suitors 33 

BOOK XXIII 35 

BOOK XXIV , 324 



THE ODYSSEY. 



BOOK I. 

ARGUMENT. 
MINERVA'S DESCENT TO ITHACA. 

The poem opens within forty-eight days of the arrival of Ulysses in his dominions. 
He had now remained seven years in the island of Calypso, when the gods as- 
sembled in council proposed the method of his depaiture from thence, and his 
return to his native country. For this purpose it is concluded to send Mercury to 
Calypso, and Pallas immediately descends to Ithaca. She holds a conference with 
Telemachus, in the shape of M'entes, king of the Taphians ; in which she advises 
him to take a journey in quest of his father Ulysses, to Pylos and Sparta, where 
Nestor and Menelaus yet reigned ; then, after having visibly d : played her divinity, 
disappears. The suitors of Penelope make great entertainments, and riot in her 
palace till night. Phemius sings to them the return of the Grecians, till Penelope 
puts a stop to the song. Some words arise between the suitors and Teiemachus, 
who summons the council to meet the day following. 

THE man for wisdom's various arts renown'd,f 
Long exercised in woes, O Muse ! resound ; 
Who, when his arms had wrought the destined fall 
Of sacred Troy, and razed her heaven-built wall, 

* The limits necessitated by the dimensions of this volume have compelled me to 
be less diffuse in the illustration of the Odyssey, than of the Iliad. I have therefore 
omitted introducing parallel passages. 

t The man. " The Odyssey or Ulysseid is a story exclusively concerning, and 
devoted to the honor of the one man Ulysses ; every event is connected, all men are 
compared, with him ; weeping or stern/patient or furious, silent or speaking, swim- 
ming or fighting, naked or in rags, in robes or in armor he is ever before our eyes in 
some shape or other the central heart from which !ife-blood flows into every the 
minutest vein and vesicle of the entire poem." Coleridge, p. 254. 

" That the Odyssey is not of the same age, or by the same hand or hands, as the 
Iliad, is one of the positions of the German theory which, though at variance with 
the prevalent belief of ancient and modem times, has been countenanced bv many 
great scholars as probable, if not absolutely demonstrated. This opinion is founded 
on the striking discrepancy as to the wife of Vulcan, who in the Iliad is Charis, and in 
the Odyssey is Venus ; on the appearance of Mercury as the constant messenger of 
Olympus, to the exclusion of Iris, who almost constantly acts that part in the Iliad ; 
on the change in the forms of many words ; on the decreased simplicity of the man- 
ners, and on the altered aspect of the mythology. These later points of difference 
have been already very strongly laid before the reader in the extract from Vico, and 
(7) 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK I. 



Wandering from clime to clime, observant stray'd, 
Their manners noted, and their states survey'd. 
On stormy seas unnumber'd toils he bore, 
Safe with his friends to gain his natal shore : 
Vain toils ! their impious folly dared to prey 
On herds devoted to the god of day; 
The god vindictive doom'd them never more 
(Ah, men -unbless'd !) to touch that natal shore. 
Oh, snatch some portion of these acts from fate, 
Celestial Muse ! and to our world relate. 

Now at their native realms the Greeks arrived ; 
All who the wars of ten long years survived, 
And 'scaped the perils of the gulfy main. 
Ulysses, sole of all the victor train, 
An exile from his dear paternal coast, 
Deplored his absent queen and empire lost. 
Calypso in her caves constrain'd his stay, 
With sweet, reluctant, amorous delav : 
In vain for now the circling years d'isclose 
The day predestined to reward his woes. 
At length his Ithaca is given by fate, 
Where yet new labors his arrival wait ; 
At length their rage the hostile powers restrain, 
All but the ruthless monarch of the main. 
But now the god. remote, a heavenly guest, 
In ^Ethiopia graced the genial feast 
(A race divided, whom with sloping rays 
The rising and descending sun surveys) ; 
There on the world's exlremest verge revered 
With hecatombs and prayer in pomp preferr'd, 
Distant he lay : while in the bright abodes 
Of high Olympus, Jove convened the gods : 
The assembly thus the sire supreme address'd, 
yEgysthus' fate revolving in his breast, 
Whom young Orestes to the dreary coast 
Of Pluto sent, a blood-polluted ghost. 

" Perverse mankind ! whose wills, created free, 
Charge all their woes on absolute decree ; 
All to the dooming gods their guilt translate, 
And follies are miscall'd the crimes of fate. 
When to his lust yEgysthus gave the rein, 



some of them will be more particularly mentioned in the course of this Introduction : 
and though it would not become me to pronounce a peremptory decision on this 
question, I cannot help owning that I never read a 'book of the Odyssey without 
being more and more convinced that a considerable number of years must have inter- 
vened between the composition of the two poems. It should be remarked, too, that, 
in every instance of difference, the statement in the Odyssey is invariably that 
which agrees with the finally prevailing habits and creed of succeeding ages." Ibid. 
p. 231, seq. 



BOOK I.] THE ODYSSEY. 



Did fate, or we, the adulterous act constrain ? 
Did fate, or we, when great Atrides died, 
Urge the bold traitor to the regicide ? 
Hermes I sent, while yet his soul remain'd 
Sincere from royal blood, and faith profaned ; 
To warn the wretch, that young Orestes, grown 
To manly years, should re-assert the throne, 
Yet, impotent of mind, and uncontroll'd, 
He plunged into the gulf which Heaven foretold." 

Here paused the god; and pensive thus replies 
Minerva, graceful with her azure eyes : 
" O thou ! from whom the whole creation springs, 
The source of power on earth derived to kings ! 
His death was equal to the direful deed ; 
So may the man of blood be doom'd to bleed ! 
But grief and rage alternate wound my breast 
For brave Ulysses, still by fate oppress'd. 
Amidst an isle, around whose rocky shore 
The forests murmur, and the surges roar, 
The blameless hero from his wish'd-for home 
A goddess guards in her enchanted dome 
(Atlas her sire, to whose far-piercing eye 
The wonders of the deep expanded lie ; 
The eternal columns which on earth he rears 
End in the starry vault, and prop the spheres). 
By his fair daughter is the chief confined, 
Who soothes to dear delight his anxious mind : 
Successless all her soft caresses prove, 
To banish from his breast his country's love ; 
To see the smoke from his loved palace rise 
While the dear isle in distant prospect lies, 
With what contentment could he close his eyes ! 
And will Omnipotence neglect to save 
The suffering virtue of the wise and brave ? 
Must he, whose altars on the Phrygian shore 
With frequent rites, and pure, avow'd thy power, 
Be doom'd the worst of human ills to prove, 
Unbless'd, abandon'd to the wrath of Jove ? " 

" Daughter ! what words have pass'd thy lips unweigh'd ! 
(Replied the Thunderer to the martial maid :) 
Deem not unjustly by my doom oppress'd, 
Of human race the wisest and the best. 
Neptune, by prayer repentant rarely won, 
Afflicts the chief, to avenge his giant son, 
Whose visual orb Ulysses robb'd of li<{ht; 
Great Polypheme, of more than mortal might ! 
Him young Thoosa bore (the bright increase 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK [. 



Of Phorcys, dreaded in the sounds and seas): 
Whom Neptune eyed with bloom of beauty bless'd, 
And in his cave the yielding nymph compress'd. 
For this, the god constrains the Greek to roam, 
A hopeless exile from his native home, 
From death alone exempt but cease to mourn ; 
Let all combine to achieve his wish'd return : 
Neptune atoned, his wrath shall now refrain, 
Or thwart the synod of the gods in vain." 

" Father and king adored ! " Minerva cried. 
"Since all who in the Olympian bower reside 
Now make the wa'ndering Greek their public care, 
Let Hermes to the Atlantic isle * repair ; 
Bid him, arrived in bright Calypso's court, 
The sanction of the assembled powers report : 
That wise Ulysses to his native land 
Must speed, obedient to their high command. 
Meantime Telemachus, the blooming heir 
Of sea-girt Ithaca, demands my care : 
'Tis mine to form his green unpractised years 
In sage debates ; surrounded with his peers, 
To save the state, and timely to restrain 
The bold intrusion of the suitor-train ; 
Who crowd his palace, and with lawless power 
His herds and flocks in feastful rites devour. 
To distant Sparta, and the spacious waste 
Of sandy Pyle, the royal youth shall haste. 
There, warm with filial love, the cause inquire 
That from his realm retards his god-like sire : 
Delivering early to the voice of fame- 
The promise of a great immortal name." 

She said : the sandals of celestial mould,t 
Fledged with ambrosial plumes, and rich with gold, 
Surround her feet : with these sublime she sails 
The aerial space, and mounts the winged gales : 
O'er earth and ocean wide prepared to soar, 
Her dreaded arm a beamy javelin bore, 
Ponderous and vast : which, when her fury burns, 
Proud tyrants humbles, and whole hosts o'erturns. 
From high Olympus prone her flight she bends, 
And in the realms of Ithaca descends, 
Her lineaments divine, the grave disguise 
Of Mentes' form conceal'd from hum'an eyes 
(Mentes, the monarch of the Taphian land) : 



* Ogygia. 
t Iris is, ] 



, in the Odyssey, invested with the same symbols of office as Mercury 



BOOK I.] THE ODYSSEY. 



A glittering spear waved awful in her hand. 
There in the portal placed, the heaven-born maid 
Enormous riot and misrule survey'd. 
On hides of beeves, before the palace gate 
(Sad spoils of luxury), the suitors sate. 
With rival art, and ardor in their mien, 
At chess they vie, to captivate the queen ; 
Divining of their loves. Attending nigh, 
A menial train the flowing bowl supply : 
Others, apart, the spacious hall prepare, 
And form the costly feast with busy care. 
There young Telemachus, his bloomy face * 
Glowing celestial sweet, with godlike grace 
Amid the circle shines : but hope and fear 
(Painful vicissitude !) his bosom tear. 
Now, imaged in his rnind, he sees restored 
In peace and joy the people's rightful lord : 
The proud oppressors fly the vengeful sword. 
While his fond soul these fancied triumphs swell'd, 
The stranger-guest the royal youth beheld : 
Grieved that a visitant so long should wait 
Unmark'd, unhonor'd, at a monarch's gate ; 
Instant he flew with hospitable haste, 
And the new friend with courteous air embraced. 
" Stranger, whoe'er thou art, securely rest, 
Affianced in my faith, a ready guest : 
Approach the dome, the social banquet share, 
And then the purpose of thy soul declare." 

Thus affable and mild, the prince precedes, 
And to the dome the unknown celestial leads. 
The spear receiving from her hand, he placed 
Against a column, fair with sculpture graced ; 
Where seemly ranged in peaceful order stood 
Ulysses' arms, now long disused to blood. 
He led the goddess to the sovereign seat, 
Her feet supported with a stool of state 
(A purple carpet spread the pavement wide) ; 

* Young Telemachus. "Telemacluis is very skilfuHy drawn, so as to be always 
subordinate to his father, and yet sufficiently full of promise and opening prowess to 
justify his heroic blood, and to give him a becoming eminence an-iowc^t the other 
characters of the poem : and when this is carried so far as to represent him a mere 
youth, on the point of bending a bow, which the suitors were unable to achieve, the 
real improbability is lost in a sense of poetical propriety, whilst, at the same time, his 
instantaneous submission to his father's nod replaces him in that relation of filial 
inferiority and obedience in which he is always meant permanently to be viewed. Yet 
Telemachus is not a pleasing character on the whole ; his demeanor towards his 
mother, notwithstanding some occasional expressions of kindness, is generally un af- 
fectionate, and there is sometimes what mi^ht be called an interested disposition 
manifested by him, which prevent* us from fully sympathizing in his long-cherished 
wishes for his father's return." Coleridge, 259. 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK I. 



Then drew his seat, familiar, to her side ; 
Far from the suitor-train, a brutal crowd, 
With insolence, and wine, elate and loud : 
Where the free guest, unnoted, might relate, 
If haply conscious, of his father's fate. 
The golden ewer a maid obsequious brings, 
Replenish'd from the cool, translucent springs ; 
With copious water the bright vase supplies 
A silver laver of capacious size : 
They wash. The tables in fair order spread. 
They heap the glittering canisters with bread : 
Viands of various kinds allure the taste, 
Of choicest sort and savor, rich repast ! 
Delicious wines the attending herald brought ; 
The gold gave lustre to the purple draught. 
Lured with the vapor of the 'fragrant feast, 
In rush'd the suitors Avith voracious haste : 
Marshaird in order due, to each a sewer 
Presents, to bathe his hands, a radiant ewer. 
Luxurious then they feast. Observant round 
Gay stripling youths the brimming goblets crown'd. 
The rage of hunger quell'd, they all advance, 
And form to measured airs the mazy dance : 
To Phemius was consign'd the chorded lyre, 
Whose hand reluctant touch 'd the warbling wire : 
Phemius, whose voice divine could sweetest sing 
High strains responsive to the vocal string. 

Meanwhile, in whispers to his heavenly guest 
His indignation thus the prince express'd : 

" Indulge my rising grief, whilst these (my friend) 
With song and dance the pompous revel end. 
Light is the dance, and doubly sweet the lays 
When for the dear delight another pays. 
His treasured stores those cormorants consume, 
Whose bones, defrauded of a regal tomb 
And common turf, lie naked on the plain, 
Or doom'd to welter in the whelming main. 
Should he return, that troop so blithe and bold, 
With purple robes inwrought, and stiff with gold, 
Precipitant in fear would wing their flight, 
And curse their cumbrous pride's unwieldy weight. 
But, ah, I dream ! the appointed hour is fled, 
And hope, too long with vain delusion fed, 
Deaf to the rumor of fallacious fame, 
Gives to the roll of death his glorious name ! 
With venial freedom let me now demand 
Thy name, thy lineage, and paternal land ; 



BOOK I.] THE ODYSSEY. 13 

Sincere, from whence began thy course, recite, 
And to what ship I owe the friendly freight ? 
Now first to me this visit dost thou deign, 
Or number'd in my father's social train ? 
All who deserved his choice, he made his own, 
And, curious much to know, he far was known." 

" My birth I boast (the blue-eyed virgin cries) 
From great Anchialus, renown'cl and wise : 
Mentes my name ; I rule the Taphian race, 
Whose bounds the deep circumfluent waves embracf ; 
A duteous people, and industrious isle, 
To naval arts inured, and stormy toil. 
Freighted with iron from my native land, 
I steer my voyage to the Brutian strand 
To gain by commerce, for the labor'd mass, 
A just proportion of refulgent brass. 
Far from your capital my ship resides 
At Reithrus, and secure at anchor rides ; 
Where waving groves on airy Neion grow, 
Supremely tall, and shade the deeps below. 
Thence to revisit your imperial dome, 
An old hereditary guest I come : 
Your father's friend. Laertes can relate 
Our faith unspotted, and its early date ; 
Who, press'd with heart-corroding grief and years, 
To the gay court a rural shed prefers, 
Where, sole of all his train, a matron sage 
Supports with homely food his drooping age, 
With feeble steps from marshalling his vines 
Returning sad, when toilsome day declines. 

" With friendly speed, induced by erring fame, 
To hail Ulysses' safe return, I came ; 
But still the frown of some celestial power 
With envious joy retards the blissful hour. 
Let not your soul be sunk in sad despair ; 
He lives, he breathes this heavenly vital air, 
Among a savage race, whose shelfy bounds 
With ceaseless roar the foaming deep surrounds. 
The thoughts which roll within my ravish'd breast, 
To me, no seer, the inspiring gods suggest ; 
Nor skill'd nor studious, with prophetic eye 
To judge the winged omens of the sky. 
Yet hear this certain speech, nor deem it vain ; 
Though adamantine bonds the chief restrain, 
The dire restraint his wisdom will defeat, 
And soon restore him to his regal seat. 
But, generous youth ! sincere and free declare, 



14 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK I 

Are you, of manly growth, his royal heir ? 
For sure Ulysses in your look appears, 
The same his features, if the same his years. 
Such was that face, on which I dwelt with joy 
Ere Greece assembled stemm'd the tides to Troy ; 
But, parting then for that detested shore, 
Our eyes, unhappy ! never greeted more." 

" To prove a genuine birth (the prince replies) 
On female truth assenting faith relies : 
Thus manifest of right, I build my claim 
Sure-founded on a fair maternal fame, 
Ulysses' son : but happier he, whom fate 
Hath placed beneath the storms which toss the great ! 
Happier the son, whose hoary sire is bless'd 
With humble affluence, and domestic rest ! 
Happier than I, to future empire born, 
But doom'd a father's wretch'd fate to mourn ! " 

To whom, with aspect mild, the guest divine : 
" Oh true descendant of a sceptred line ! 
The gods a glorious fate from anguish free 
To chaste Penelope's increase decree.* 
But say, yon jovial troops so gayly dress'd, 
Is this a bridal or a friendly feast ? 
Or from their deed I rightlier may divine. 
Unseemly flown with insolence and wine ? 
Unwelcome revellers, whose lawless joy 
Pains the sage ear, and hurts the sober eye." 

" Magnificence of old (the prince replied) 
Beneath our roof with virtue could reside ; 
Unblamed abundance crown'd the royal board, 
What time this dome revered her prudent lord ; 
Who now (so Heaven decrees) is doom'd to mourn, 
Bitter constraint, erroneous and forlorn. 
Better the chief, on Ilion's hostile plain, 
Had fall'n surrounded with his warlike train ; 



* Chaste Penelope. " Penelope does not interest us in an equal degree with her 
husband. She is chaste and prudent ; but as Ulysses scruples not to accept the 
favors of Calypso and Circe, so she evidently goes considerable lengths in the way of 
coquetry with her suitors. Antinous declares in public that she had made promises 
to every one of them, and had sent messages to them : she undoubtedly wishes ear- 
nestly for her husband's return, and seems sincere in her dislike of the prospect of a 
second marriage ; nevertheless, she is not insensible to the charm of being admired 
and courted, and does not appear very seriously angry at the boldness of Antinoiis 
and others, to which, it should seem, she mi.cht have put a stop by removing to her 
father's house, as Telemachus repeatedly hints she ought to do, and then choosing or 
refusing a husband as she pleased. She permits the constant spoil and dilapidation 
of her husband's or son's substance, and even the life of the latter to be perpetually 
exposed to the violence and hostility of men whom, according to their frequent pro- 
fessions, she had the means of leading in another direction." Coleridge, p. 257. 



BOOK I.] THE ODYSSEY. 15 

Or safe return'd, the race of glory pass'd, 

New. to his friends' embrace, and breathed his last ! 

Then grateful Greece with streaming eyes would raise 

Historic marbles to record his praise ; 

His praise, eternal on the faithful stone, 

Had with transmissive honor graced his son. 

Now snatch'd by harpies to the dreary coast, 

Sunk is the hero, and his glory lost : 

Vanish'd at once ! unheard of, and unknown ! 

And I his heir in misery alone. 

Nor for a dear lost father only flow 

The filial tears, but woe succeeds to woe : 

To tempt the spouseless queen with amorous wiles, 

Resort the nobles from the neighboring isles ; 

From Samos, circled with the Ionian main, 

Dulichium, and Zacynthus' sylvan reign;* 

Ev'n with presumptuous hope her bed to ascend, 

The lords of Ithaca their right pretend. 

She seems attentive to their pleaded vows, 

Her heart detesting what her ear allows. 

They, vain expectants of the bridal hour, 

My stores in riotous expense devour. 

In feast and dance the mirthful months employ, 

And meditate my doom to crown their joy." 

With tender pity touch'd, the goddess cried : 
" Soon may kind Heaven a sure relief provide, 
Soon may your sire discharge the vengennce due, 
And all your wrongs the proud oppressors rue! 
Oh ! in that portal should the chief appear, 
Each hand tremendous with a brazen spear, 
In radiant panoply his limbs incased 
(For so of old my father's court he graced, 
When social mirth unbent his serious soul, 
O'er the full banquet, and the sprightly bowl) : 
He then from Ephyre', the fair domain f 
Of Ilus, sprung from Jason's royal strain, 
Measured a length of seas, a toilsome length, in vain. 
For, voyaging to learn the direful art 
To taint with deadly drugs the barbed dart; 
Observant of the gods, and sternly just, 
Ilus refused to impart the baneful trust: 
With friendlier zeal my father's soul was fired, 

* Dulichium. The site of this island has never been satisfactorily ascertained. 
Some have identified it with Cephalema, an opinion which Strabo condemns. Dod- 
well thinks that it has probably been swallowed by an earthquake. 

t Efhyrt. Strabo thinks the Ephyre 1 here mentioned was in Elis. Others placed 
it in Thesprotia. 



1 6 THE ODYSSEY. (BOOK I. 

The drugs he knew, and gave the boon desired. 

Appear'd he now with such heroic port, 

As then conspicuous at the Taphian court ;* 

Soon should yon boasters cease their haughty strife, 

Or each atone his guilty love with life. 

But of his wish'd return the care resign ; 

Be future vengeance to the powers divine. 

My sentence hear : with stern distaste avow'd, 

To their own districts drive the suitor-crowd : 

When next the morning warms the purple east, 

Convoke the peerage, and the gods attest ; 

The sorrows of your inmost soul relate; 

And form sure plans to save the sinking state. 

Should second love a pleasing flame inspire, 

And the chaste queen connubial rites require ; 

Dismiss'd with honor, let her hence repair 

To great Icarius, whose paternal care 

Will guide her passion, and reward her choice 

With wealthy dower, and bridal gifts of price. 

Then let this dictate of my love prevail : 

Instant, to foreign realms prepare to sail, 

To learn your father's fortunes : Fame may prove, 

Or omen'd voice (the messenger of Jove), 

Propitious to the search. Direct your toil 

Through the wide ocean first to sandy Pyle ; f, 

Of Nestor, hoary sage, his doom demand : 

Thence speed your voyage to the Spartan strand ; 

For young Atrides to the Achaian coast 

Arrived the last of all the victor host. 

If yet Ulysses views the light, forbear, 

Till the fleet hours restore the circling year. 

But if his soul hath wing'd the destined flight, 

Inhabitant of deep disastrous night ; 

Homeward with pious speed repass the main, 

To the pale shade funereal rites ordain, 

Plant the fair column o'er the vacant grave, 

A hero's honors let the hero have. 

With decent grief the royal dead deplored, 

For the chaste queen select an equal lord. 

Then let revenge your daring mind employ, 

By fraud or force the suitor-train destroy, 

And starting into manhood, scorn the boy. 

Hast thou not heard how young Orestes, fired 

With great revenge, immortal praise acquired ? 

* Taphian. The Taphian isles were in the Ionian Sea, between Achaia and 
Leucadia. 

t Pyle. Nestor was born at a small village called Gerenus, near Pyle, in Elis. 



BOOK I.] THE ODYSSEY. 



. His virgin-sword ^gysthus' veins imbrued ; 
The murderer fell, and blood atoned for blood. 

greatly bless 'd with every blooming grace ! 
With equal steps the paths of glory trace ; 
Join to that royal youth's your rival name, 

And shine eternal in the sphere of fame. 

But my associates now my stay deplore, 
Impatient on the hoarse-resounding shore. 
Thou, heedful of advice, .secure proceed ; 
My praise the precept is, be thine the deed." 

"The counsel of my friend (the youth rejoin'd) 
Imprints conviction on my grateful mind. 
So fathers speak (persuasive speech and mild) 

Their sage experience to the favorite child. 
But, since to part, for sweet refection due, 
The genial viands let my train renew : 
And the rich pledge of plighted faith receive, 
Worthy the air of Ithaca to give." 

" Defer the promised boon (the goddess cries, 
Celestial azure brightening in her eyes), 
And let me nq,w regain the Reithrian port : 
From Temese' return'd, your royal court 

1 shall revisit, and that pledge receive : 

And gifts, memorial of our friendship, leave." 

Abrupt, with eagle-speed she cut the sky ; 
Instant invisible to mortal eye. 
Then first he recognized the ethereal guest ; 
Wonder and joy alternate fire his breast : 
Heroic thoughts, infused, his heart dilate; 
Revolving much his father's doubtful fate. 
At length, composed, he join'd the suitor-throng; 
Hush'd in attention to the warbled song. 
His tender theme the charming lyrist chose 
Minerva's anger, and the dreadful woes 
Which voyaging from Troy the victors bore, 
While storms vindictive intercept the shore. 
The shrilling airs the vaulted roof rebounds, 
Reflecting to the queen the silver sounds. 
With grief renew'd the weeping fair descends; 
Their sovereign's step a virgin train attends : 
A veil, of richest texture wrought, she wears, 
And sijent to the joyous hall repairs. 
There from the portal, with her mild command, 
Thus gently checks the minstrel's tuneful hand : 

"Phemius ! let acts of gods, and heroes old, 
What ancient bards in hall and bower have told, 
Attemper'd to the lyre, your voice employ : 

2 



1 8 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK I. 

Such the pleased ear will drink with silent joy. 
But, oh ! forbear that dear disastrous name, 
To sorrow sacred, and secure of fame : 
My bleeding bosom sickens at the sound, 
And every piercing note inflicts a wound." 

" Why, dearest object of my duteous love 
(Replied the prince), will you'the bard reprove ? 
Oft, Jove's ethereal rays (resistless fire) 
The chanter's soul and raptured song inspire ; 
Instinct divine ! nor blame severe his choice, 
Warbling the Grecian woes with heart and voice : 
For novel lays attract our ravish'd ears ; 
But old, the mind with inattention hears : 
Patient permit the sadly pleasing strain; 
Familiar now with grief, your tears refrain, 
And in the public woe forget your own; 
You weep not for a perish'd lord alone. 
What Greeks now wandering in the Stygian gloom, 
With your Ulysses shared an equal doom ! 
Your widow'd hours, apart, with female toil 
And various labors of the loom beguile ;, 
There rule, from palace-cares remote and free ; 
That care to man belongs, and most to me." 

Mature beyond his years, the queen admires 
His sage reply, and with her train retires. 
Then swelling sorrows burst their former bounds, 
With echoing grief afresh the dome resounds ; 
Till Pallas, piteous of her plaintive cries, 
In slumber closed her silver-streaming eyes. 

Meantime, rekindled at the royal charms, 
Tumultuous love each beating bosom warms ; 
Intemperate rage a wordy war began ; 
But bold Telemachus assumed the man. 
" Instant (he cried) your female discord end, 
Ye deedless boasters ! and the song attend : 
Obey that sweet compulsion, nor profane 
With dissonance the smooth melodious strain. 
Pacific now prolong the jovial feast ; 
But when the dawn reveals the rosy east, 
I, to the peers assembled, shall propose 
The firm resolve, I here in few disclose : 
No longer live the cankers of my court ; 
All to your several states with speed resort; 
Waste in wild riot what your land allows, 
There ply the early feast, and late carouse. 
But if, to honor lost, 'tis still decreed 
For you my bowl shall flow, my flock shall bleed; 



BOOK 1. 1 THE ODYSSEY. 19 

Judge and revenge my right, impartial Jove ! 
By him and all the immortal thrones above 
(A sacred oath), each proud oppressor slain, 
Shall with inglorious gore this marble stain. 1 ' 

Awed by the prince, thus haughty, bold, and young, 
Rage gnaw'd the lip, and wonder chain'd the tongue. 
Silence at length the gay Antinoiis broke, 
Constrained a smile, and thus ambiguous spoke : 
"What god to your untutor'd youth affords 
This headlong torrent of amazing words ? 
May Jove delay thy reign, anel cumber late 
So bright a genius with the toils of state ! " 

"Those toils (Telemachus serene replies) 
Have charms, with all their weight, t' allure the wise. 
Fast by the throne obsequious fame resides, 
And wealth incessant rolls her golden tides. 
Nor let Antinoiis rage, if strong desire 
Of wealth and fame a youthful bosom fire : 
Elect by Jove, his delegate of sway, 
With joyous pride the summons I'd obey. 
Whene'er Ulysses roams the realm of night, 
Should factious p\ver dispute my lineal right, 
Some other Greeks a fairer claim may plead ; 
To your pretence their title would precede. 
At least, the sceptre lost, I still should reign 
Sole o'er my vassals, and domestic train." 

To this Eurymachus : " To Heaven alone 
Refer the choice to fill the vacant throne. 
Your patrimonial stores in peace possess ; 
Undoubted, all your filial claim confess : 
Your private right should impious power invade, 
The peers of Ithaca would arm in aid. 
But say, that stranger guest who late withdrew, 
What and from whence ? his name and lineage shew. 
His grave demeanor and majestic grace 
Speak him descended of no vulgar race : 
Did he some loan of ancient right require, 
Or came forerunner of your sceptr'd sire ? " 
" Oh son of Polybus ! " the prince replies, 
" No more my sire will glad these longing eyes : 
The queen's fond hope inventive rumor cheers, 
Or vain diviners' dreams divert her fears. 
That stranger-guest the Taphian realm obeys, 
A realm defended with encircling seas. 
Mentes, an ever-honor'd name of old, 
High in Ulysses' social list enroll'd." 
Thus he, though conscious of the ethereal guest, 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK I. 



Answer'd evasive of the sly request. 
Meantime the lyre rejoins the sprightly lay ; 
Love-dittied airs, and dance conclude the day. 
But when the star of eve with golden light 
Adorn'd the matron brow of sable night, 
The mirthful train dispersing quit the court, 
And to their several domes' to rest resort. 
A towering structure to the palace join'd ; 
To this his steps the thoughtful prince inclined : 
In his pavilion there, to sleep repairs : 
The lighted torch, the sage Euryclea bears 
(Daughter of Ops, the just Pisenor's son, 
For twenty beeves by great Laertes won ; 
In rosy prime with charms attractive graced. 
Honor'd by him, a gentle lord and chaste, 
With dear esteem : too wise, with jealous strife 
To taint the joys of sweet connubial life. 
Sole with Telemachus her service ends, 
A child she nursed him, and a man attends). 

Whilst to his couch himself the prince address'd, 
The duteous dame received the purple vest : * 
The purple vest with decent care disposed, 
The silver ring she pulPd, the door reclosed, 
The bolt, obedient to the silken cord, 
To the strong staple's inmost depths restored, 
Secured the valves. There wrapp'd in silent shade, 
Pensive, the rules the goddess gave he weigh'd ; 
Stretch 'd on the downy fleece, no rest he knows, 
And in his raptured soul the vision glows. 

* The duteous datnt. There is much amusing simplicity in this picture of ancient 
manners. The offices, however, performed by the chambermaids in some parts of 
Sweden, render the duties of Euryclea less strange, considering the heroic age, than 
would at first appear. 



BOOK II.] THE ODYSSEY. 21 



BOOK II. 



ARGUMENT. 

THB COUNCIL OF ITHACA. 

Telemachus, in the assembly of the lords of Ithaca, complains of the injustice done 
him by the suitors, and insists upon their departure from his palace ; appealing to 
the princes, and exciting the people to declare against them. The suitors endeavor 
to justify their stay, at least till he shall send the queen to the court of Icarius her 
father ; which he refuses. There appears a prodigy of two eagles in the sky, 
which an augur expounds to the ruin of the suitors. Telemachus then demands a 
vessel to carry him to Pylos and Sparta, there to inquire of his father's fortunes. 
Pallas, in the shape of Mentor (an ancient friend of Ulysses), helps him to a ship, 
assists him in preparing necessaries for the voyage, and embarks with him that 
night ; which concludes the second day from the opening of the poem. 
The scene continues in the palace of Ulysses, in Ithaca. 

Now reddening from the dawn, the morning ray 
Glow'd in the front of heaven, and gave the day. 
The youthful hero, with returning light, 
Rose anxious from the inquietudes of night. 
A royal robe he wore with graceful pride, 
A two-edged falchion threaten'd by his side, 
Embroider'd sandals glitter'd as he trod, 
And forth he moved, majestic as a god. 
Then by his heralds, restless of delay, 
To council calls the peers : the peers obey. 
Soon as in solemn form the assembly sate, 
From his high dome himself descends in state. 
Bright in his hand a ponderous javelin shined ; 
Two dogs, a faithful guard, attend behind ; 
Pallas with grace divine his form improves, 
And gazing crowds admire him as he moves. 

His father's throne he fill'd : while distant stood 
The hoary peers, and aged wisdom bow'd. 

'Twas silence all. At last yEgyptius spoke ; 
jEgyptius, by his age and sorrows broke : 
A length of days his soul with prudence crown'd, 
A length of days had bent him to the ground. 
His eldest hope in arms to Ilion came,* 

Hii eldest hopt, Autiphus. 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK II. 



By great Ulysses taught the path to fame ; 

But (hapless youth) the hideous Cyclops/tore 

His quivering limbs, and quaff' d his spouting gore 

Three sons remain'd : to climb with haughty fires 

The royal bed, Eurynomus aspires; 

The rest with duteous love his griefs assuage, 

And ease the sire of half the cares of age. 

Yet still his Antiphus he loves, he mourns, 

And, as he stood, he spoke and wept by turns, 

"Since great Ulysses sought the Phrygian plains, 
Within these walls inglorious silence reigns. 
Say then, ye peers ! by whose commands we meet ? 
Why here once more in solemn council sit ? 
Ye young, ye old, the weighty cause disclose : 
Arrives some message of invading foes ? 
Or say, does high necessity of state 
Inspire some patriot, and demand debate ? 
The presenj synod speaks its author wise ; 
Assist him, Jove, thou regent of the skies ! " 

He spoke. Telemachus with transport glows, 
Embraced the omen, and majestic rose 
(His royal hand the imperial sceptre sway'd) ; 
Then thus, addressing to ^gyptius, said : 

" Reverend old man ! lo here confess'd he stands 
By whom ye meet ; my grief your care demands. 
No story I unfold of public woes, 
Nor bear advices of impending foes . 
Peace the blest land, and joys incessant crown : 
Of all this happy realm, I grieve alone. 
For my lost sire continual sorrows spring, 
The great, the good ; your father and your king. 
f Yet more ; our house from its foundation bows, 
Our foes are powerful, and your sons the foes ; 
Hither, unwelcome to the queen, they come; 
Why seek they not the rich Icarian dome ? 
If she must wed, from other hands require 
The dowry : is Telemachus her sire ? 

Yet through my court the noise of revel rings 
And wastes the wise frugality of kings. 
Scarce all my herds their luxury suffice ;* 

* Their luxury. Coleridgs well observes, that "it cannot be denied, that the 
Odyssey does also betray the fact of an advance in the refinement, or at least in the 
complication of society ; and there is a sort of conflict observable in many parts of the 
poem between the genuine heroic manners and the apparently encroaching habits of a 
more modern system. Telemachus, Pisistratus, the court of 'Alcinoiis, and the suitors 
of Penelope, seem removed to the third or fourth generation from the godlike war- 
riors Wh0 fought on the plains of Troy; they appear as much astonished at the strength 
and courage of those heroes as we are ourselves ; and there is a confession of infe- 



BOOK II.] THE ODYSSEY. 23 

Scarce all my wine their midnight hours supplies. 

Safe in my youth, in riot still they grow, 

Nor in the helplesa orphan dread a foe. 

But come it will, the time when manhood grants 

More powerful advocates than vain complaints. 

Approach that hour ! insufferable wrong 

Cries to the gods, and vengeance sleeps too long. 

Rise then, ye peers ! with virtuous anger rise ; 

Your fame revere, but most the avenging skies. 

By all the deathless powers that reign above, 

By righteous Themis and by thundering Jove 

(Themis, who gives to councils, or denies 

Success ; and humbles, or confirms the wise), 

Rise in my aid ! suffice the tears that flow 

For my lost sire, nor add new woe to woe. 

If e'er he boYe the sword to strengthen ill, 

Or, having power to wrong, betray'd the will, 

On me, on me your kindled wrath assuage, 

And bid the voice of lawless riot rage. 

If ruin to your royal race ye doom, 

Be you the spoilers, and our wealth consume. 

Then might we hope redress from juster laws, 

And raise all Ithaca to aid our cause : 

But while your sons commit the unpunish'd wrong, 

You make 'the arm of violence too strong." 

While thus he spoke, with rage and grief he frown'd, 
And clash'd the imperial sceptre to the ground. 
The big round tear hung trembling in his eye : 
The synod grieved, and' gave a pitying sigh, 
Then silent sate at length Antinoiis burns 
With haughty rage, and sternly thus returns. 

" O insolence of youth ! whose tongue affords 
Such railing eloquence, and war of words. 
Studious thy country's worthies to defame, 
Thy erring voice displays thy mother's shame. 
Elusive of the bridal clay, she eives 
Fond hopes to all. and all with hopes deceives. 
Did not the sun, through heaven's wide azure roll'd, 
For three Ions: years the royal fraud behold ? 
While she, laborious in delusion, spread 
The spacious loom, and mix'd the various thread: 
Where as to life the wondrous figures rise, 
Thus spoke the inventive queen, with artful sighs : 

* Though cold in death Ulysses breathes no more, 
Cease yet awhile to urge the bridal hour : 



riority and degeneracy in the Odyssey, which forms a striking contrast with the haughty 
and successful pretensions so often asserted in the Iliad." Classic Poets, p. 233. 



24 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK II- 

Cease, till to great Laertes I bequeath 
A task of grief, his ornaments of death. 
Lest when the Fates his royal ashes claim, 
The Grecian matrons taint my spotless fame ; 
When he, whom living mighty realms obey'd, 
Shall want in death a shroud to grace his shade.' 

"Thus she : at once the generous train complies, 
Nor fraud mistrusts in virtue's fair disguise. 
The work she plied ; but, studious of delay, 
By night reversed the labors of the day. 
While thrice the sun his annual journey made, 
The conscious lamp the midnight fraud survey'd ; 
Unheard, unseen, three years her arts prevail ; 
The fourth, her maid unfolds the amazing tale. 
We saw, as unperceived we took our stand, 
The backward labors of her faithless hand. 
Then urged, she perfects her illustrious toils ; 
A wondrous monument of female's wiles ! 

" But you, O peers ! and thou, O prince ! give car 
(I speak aloud, that every Greek may hear) ; 
Dismiss the queen ; and if her sire approves, 
Let him espouse her to the peer she loves : 
Bid instant to prepare the bridal train, 
Nor let a race of princes wait in vain. 
Though with a grace divine her soul is blest, 
And all Minerva breathes within her breast, 
In wondrous arts than woman more renown'd, 
And more than woman with deep wisdom crown'd; 
Though Tyro nor Mycenfe match her name, 
Not great Alcmena (the proud boasts of fame); 
Yet thus by heaven adorn'd, by heaven's decree 
She shines' with fatal excellence, to thee : 
With thee, the bowl we drain, indulge the feast, 
Till righteous heaven reclaim her stubborn breast. 
What "though from pole to pole resounds her name! 
The son's destruction waits the mother's fame : 
For, till she leaves thy court, iris decreed, 
Thy bowl to empty, and thy flock to bleed." 

While yet he sp'eaks. Telemachus replies : 
"Ev'n nature starts, and what ye ask denies. 
Thus, shall I thus repay a mother's cares, 
Who gave me life, and nursed my infant years ! 
While sad on foreign shores Ulysses treads, 
Or glides a ghost with unapparent shades ; 
How to Icarius in the bridal hour 
Shall I, by waste undone, refund the dower? 
How from my father should I vengeance dread ! 



BOOK II. j THE ODYSSEY. 25 

How would my mother curse my hated head ! 
And while in wrath to vengeful fiends she cries. 
How from their hell would vengeful fiends arise! 
Abhorr'd by all, accursed my name would grow, 
The earth's disgrace, and human-Kind my toe. 
If this displease, why urge ye here your stay? 
Haste from the court, ye spoilers, haste away : 
Waste in wild riot what your land allows, 
There ply the early feast, and late carouse. 
But if, to honor lost, 'tis still decreed 
For you my bowl shall flow, my flocks shall bleed ; 
Judge, and assert my right, impartial Jove ! 
By him, and all the immortal host above 
(A sacred oath), if heaven the power supply, 
Vengeance I vow, and for your wrongs ye die." 

With that, two eagles from a mountain's height 
By Jove's command direct their rapid flight ; 
Swift they descend, with wing to wing conjoin'd, 
Stretch their broad plumes, and float upon the wind. 
Above the assembled peers they wheel on high, 
And clang their wings, and hovering beat the sky: 
With ardent eyes the rival train they threat, 
And shrieking loud denounce approaching fate. 
They cuff, they tear ; their cheeks and neck they rend, 
And from their plumes huge drops of blood descend : 
Then, sailing o'er the domes and towers, they fly, 
Full toward the east, and mount into the sky. 

The wondering rivals gaze, with cares oppress'd, 
And chilling horrors freeze in every breast, 
Till big with knowledge of approaching woes, 
The prince of augurs, Halitherses, rose : 
Prescient he view'd the aerial tracks, and drew 
A sure presage from every wing that flew. 

" Ye sons (he cried) of Ithaca, give ear; 
Hear all ! but chiefly you, O rivals ! hear. 
Destruction sure o'er all your heads impends : 
Ulysses comes, and death his steps attends. 
Nor to the great alone is death decreed ; 
We and our guilty Ithaca must bleed. 
Why cease we then the wrath of heaven to stay ? 
Be humbled all, and lead, ye great ! the way. 
For lo ! my words no fancied woes relate ; 
I speak from science and the voice of fate. 

" When great Ulysses sought the Phrygian shores 
To shake with war proud I lion's lofty towers, 
Deeds then undone my faithful tongue foretold : 
Heaven seal'd my words, and you those deeds behold. 



26 THE ODYSSEY, [BOOK II. 

I see (I cried) his woes, a countless train ; 
I see his friends o'ervvhelnvd beneath the main ; 
How twice ten years from shore to shore lie roams: 
Now twice ten years are past, and now he comes ! " 

To whom Eurymachus - Fly, dotard, fly, 
With thy wise dreams, and fables of the sky. 
Go prophesy at home, thy sons advise : 
Here thou art sage in vain I better read the skies. 
Unnumber'd birds glide through the aerial way, 
Vagrants of air, and un foreboding stray. 
Cold in the tomb, or in the deeps below, 
Ulysses lies ; oh wert thou laid as low ! 
Then would that busy head no broils suggest, 
Nor fire to rage Telemachus's breast. 
From him some bribe thy venal tongue requires, 
And interest, not the god, thy voice inspires. 
His guideless youth, if thy experienced age 
Mislead fallacious into idle rage, 
Vengeance deserved thy malice shall repress, 
And but augment the wrongs thou would'st redress ; 
Telemachus may bid the queen repair 
To great Icarius, whose paternal care 
Will guide her passion, and reward her choice 
With wealthy dower, and bridal gifts of price. 
Till she retires, determined we remain, 
And both the prince and augur threat in vain : 
His pride of words, and thy wild dream of fate, 
Move not the brave, or only move their hate. 
Threat on, O prince ! elude the bridal clay. 
Threat on, till all thy stores in waste decay. 
True, Greece affords a train of lovely dames, 
In wealth and beauty worthy of our flames : 
But never from this nobler suit we cease ; 
For wealth and beauty less than virtue please." 

To whom the youth : " Since then in vain I tell 
My numerous woes, in silence let them dwell. 
But Heaven, and all the Greeks, have heard my wrongs ; 
To Heaven, and all the Greeks, redress belongs ; 
Yet this I ask (nor be it ask'd in vain), 
A bark to waft me o'er the rolling main, 
The realms of Pyle and Sparta to explore, 
And seek my royal sire from shore to shore : 
If, or to fame his doubtful fate be known, 
Or to be learn'd from oracles alone, 
If yet he lives, with patience I forbear, 
Tifl the fleet hours restore the circling year : 
But if already wandering in the train 



BOOK II.] THE ODYSSEY. 27 

Of empty shades, I measure back the main, 
Plant the fair column o'er the mighty dead, 
And yield his consort to the nuptial bed." 

He ceased; and while abash'd the peers attend, 
Mentor arose, Ulysses' faithful friend : 
When fierce in arms he sought the scenes of war, 
"My friend, (he cried), my palace be thy care ; 
Years roll'd on years my godlike sire decay, 
Guard thou his age, and his behests obey.'' 
Stern as he rose, he cast his eyes around, 
That flash'd with rage ; and as he spoke, he frown'd. 

" O never, never more let king be just, 
Be mild in power, or faithful to his trust ! 
Let tyrants govern with an iron rod, 
Oppress, destroy, and be the scourge of God; 
Since he who like a father held his reign, 
So soon forgot, was just and mild in vain ! 
True, while my friend is grieved, his griefs I share ; 
Yet now the rivals are my smallest care: 
They for the mighty mischiefs they devise, 
Ere long shall pay their forfeit lives the price. 
But against you, ye Greeks ! ye coward train! 
Gods ! how my soul is moved with just disdain ! 
Dumb ye all stand, and not one tongue affords 
His injured prince the little aid of words." 

While yet he spoke, Leocritus rejoined : 
"O pride of words, and arrogance of mind! 
Would'st thou to rise in arms {he Greeks advise ? 
Join all your powers ! in arms, ye Greeks, arise ! 
Yet would your powers in vain our strength oppose : 
The valiant few o'ermatch a host of foes. 
Should great Ulysses stern appear in arms, 
While the bowl circles, and the banquet warms ; 
Though to his breast his spouse with transport flies, 
Torn from her breast, that hour, Ulysses dies. 
But hence retreating to your domes repair. 
To arm the vessel, Mentor ! be thy care, 
And Halitherses ! thine : be each his friend ; 
Ye loved the father : go, the son attend. 
But yet, I trust, the boaster means to stay 
Safe' in the court, nor tempt the watery way." 

Then, with a rushing sound, the assembly bend 
Diverse their steps : the rival rout ascend 
The royal dome ; while sad the prince explores 
The neighboring main, and sorrowing treads the shores. 
There, as the waters o'er his hands he shed, 
The royal suppliant to Minerva pray'd : 



28 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK II. 

" O goddess ! who descending from the skies 
Vouchsafed thy presence to my wandering eyes, 
By whose commands the raging deeps I trace, 
And seek my sire through storms and rolling seas f 
Hear from thy heavens above, O warrior-maid ! 
Descend once more propitious to my aid. 
Without thy presence, vain is thy command : 
Greece, and the rival train, thy voice withstand." 

Indulgent to his prayer, the goddess took 
Sage Mentor's form, and thus like Mentor spoke : 

" O prince, in early youth divinely wise, 
Born, the Ulysses of thy age to rise ! 
If to the son the father's worth descends, 
O'er the wide wave success thy ways attends : 
To tread the walks of death he stood prepared ; 
And what he greatly thought, he nobly dared. 
Were not wise sons descendant of the wise, 
And did not heroes from brave heroes rise, 
Vain were my hopes: few sons attain the praise 
Of their great sires, and most their sires disgrace. 
But since thy veins paternal virtue fires, 
And all Penelope thy soul inspires, 
Go, and succeed ! the rivals' aims despise; 
For never, never, wicked man was wise. 
Blind they rejoice, though now, ev'n now they fall ; 
Death hastes amain : one hour o'erwhelms them all ! 
And lo, witlj speed we plough the watery way ; 
My power shall guard thee, and my hand convey : 
The winged vessel studious I prepare, 
Through seas and realms companion of thy care. 
Thou to the court ascend : and to the shores 
(When night advances) bear the naval stores; 
Bread, that decaying man with strength supplies, 
And generous wine," which thoughtful sorrow flies. 
Meanwhile the mariners, by my command, 
Shall speed aboard, a valiant chosen band. 
Wide o'er the bay, by vessel vessel rides ; 
The best I choose to waft thee o'er the tides." 

She spoke : to his high dome the prince returns, 
And, as he moves, with royal anguish mourns. 
'Twas riot all, among the lawless train ; 
Boar bled. by boar, and goat by goat lay slain. 
Arrived, his hand the gay Antinoiis press'd, 
And thus deriding, with a smile address'd : 

" Grieve not, O daring prince ! that noble heart : 
111 suits gay youth the stern heroic part. 
Indulge the genial hour, unbend thy soul, 



BOOK II.] THE ODYSSEY. 29 

Leave thought to age, and drain the flowing bowl. 

Studious to ease thy grief, our care provides 

The bark, to waft thee o'er the swelling tides." 
" Is this (returns the prince) for mirth a time ? 

When lawless gluttons riot, mirth's a crime ; 

The luscious wines, dishonored, lose their taste ; 

The song is noise, and impious is the feast. 

Suffice it to have spent with swift decay 

The wealth of kings, and made my youth a prey. 

But now the wise instructions of the sage, 

And manly thoughts inspired by manly age, 

Teach me to seek redress for all my woe, 

Here, or in Pyl'e in Pyle, or here, your foe. 

Deny your vessels, ye deny in vain : 

A private voyager I pass the main. 

Free breathe the winds, and free the billows flow ; 
And where on earth I live, I live your foe." 

He spoke and frown'd, nor longer deign'd to stay, 
Sternly his hand withdrew, and strode away. 

Meantime, o'er all the dome, they quaff, they feast, 
Derisive taunts were spread from guest to guest, 
And each in jovial mood his mate address'd : 

" Tremble, ye not, O friends, and coward fly, 
Doom'd by the stern Telemachus to die ? 
To Pyle or Sparta to demand supplies, 
Big with revenge, the mighty warrior flies : 
Or comes from Ephyre with poisons fraugh^ 
And kills us all in one tremendous draught ! " 

"Or who can say (his gamesome mate replies) 
But, while the dangers of the deep he tries, 
He, like his sire, may sink deprived of breath, 
And punish us unkindly by his death ? 
What mighty labors would he then create, 
To seize his treasures, and divide his state, 
The royal palace to the queen convey, 
Or him she blesses in the bridal day ! " 

Meantime the lofty rooms the prince surveys, 
Where lay the treasures of the Ithacian race : 
Here ruddy brass and gold refulgent blazed ; 
There polish'd chests embroider'd vestures graced; 
Here jars of oil breathed forth a rich perfume ; 
There casks of wine in rows adorn'd the dome 
(Pure flavorous wine, by gods in bounty given, 
And worthy to exalt the feasts of heaven). 
Untouch'd they stood, till, his long labors o'er, 
The great Ulysses reach'd his native shore. 
A double strength of bars secured the gates : 



30 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK II. 

Fast by the door the wise Euryclea waits : 
Euryclea, who, great Ops ! thy lineage shared, 
And watch'd all night, all day, a faithful guard. 

To whom the prince : " O thou, whose guardian care 
Nursed the most wretched king that breathes the air: 
Untouch'd and sacred may these vessels stand, 
Till great Ulysses views his native land. 
But by thy care twelve urns of wine be filled ; 
Next these in worth, and firm those urns be seal'd; 
And twice ten measures of the choicest flour 
Prepared, ere yet descends the evening hour. 
For when the favoring shades of night arise, 
And peaceful slumbers close my mother's eyes, 
Me from our coast shall spreading sails convey, 
To seek Ulysses through the watery way." 

While yet he spoke, she fill'd the walls with cries, 
And tears ran trickling from her aged eyes. 
"O whither, whither flies my son ? (she cried,) 
To realms, that rocks and roaring seas divide ? 
In foreign lands thy father's days decay'd, 
And foreign lands contain the mighty dead. 
The watery way ill-fated if thou try, 
All, all must perish, and by fraud you die I 
Then stay, my child, storms beat, and rolls the main, 
Oh, beat these storms, and roll the seas in vain ! " 

" Far hence (replied the prince) thy fears be driven : 
Heaven calls me forth : these counsels are of Heaven. 
But, by the powers that hate the perjured, swear, 
To keep my voyage from the royal ear, 
Nor uncompell'd the dangerous truth betray, 
Till twice six times descends the lamp of day : 
Lest the sad tale a mother's life impair, 
And grief destroy what time awhile would spare." 

Thus he. The matron with uplifted eyes 
Attesting the all-seeing sovereign of the skies. 
Then studious she prepares the choicest flour, 
The strength of wheat, and wines an ample store. 
While to the rival train the prince returns, 
The martial goddess with impatience burns ; 
Like thee, Teletnachus, in voice and size, 
With speed divine from street to street she flies, 
She bids the mariners prepared to stand, 
When night descends, embodied on the strand. 
Then to Noe'mon swift she runs, she flies, 
And asks a bark : the chief a bark supplies. 

And now, declining with his sloping wheels, 
Down sunk the sun behind the western hills. 



BOOK II.] THE ODYSSEY. 31 

The goddess shoved the vessel from the shores, 
And stow'd within its womb the naval stores. 
Full in the openings of the spacious main 
It rides ; and now descends the sailor-train. 
Next, to the court, impatient of delay, 
With rapid step the goddess urged her way: 
There every eye with slumberous chains she bound, 
And dash'd the flowing goblet to the ground. 
Drowsy they rose, with heavy fumes oppress'd, 
ReePd'from the palace, and retired to rest. 

Then thus, in Mentor's reverend form array'd, 
Spoke to Telemachus the martial maid. 
" Lo ! on the seas, prepared the vessel stands, 

The impatient mariner thy speed demands." 
Swift as she spoke, -ivith rapid pace she leads ; 

The footsteps of the deity he treads. 

Swift to the shore they move along the strand ; 

The ready vessel rides, the sailors ready stand. 

He bids them bring their stores ; the attending train 

Load the tall bark, and launch into the main. 

The prince and goddess to the stern ascend; 

To the strong strokes at once the rowers bend. 

Full from the west she bids fresh breezes blow ; 

The sable billows foam and roar below. ' 

The chief his orders gives ; the obedient band 

With due observance wait the chief's command : 

With speed the mast they rear, with speed unbind 

The spacious sheet, and stretch it to the wind. 

High o'er the roaring waves the spreading sails 

Bow the tall mast, and swell before the gales ; 

The crooked keel the parting surge divides, 

And to the stern retreating roll the tides. 

And now they ship their oars, and crown with wine 

The holy goblet to the powers divine : 

Imploring all the gods that reign above, 

But chief the blue-eyed progeny of Jove. 
Thus all the night they stem the liquid way, 

And end their voyage with the morning ray. 



32 THE ODYSSEY, [BOOK III. 



BOOK III. 

ARGUMENT. 

THK INTERVIEW OF TELEMACHUS AND NHSTOR. 

Telemachus, guided by Pallas in the shape of Mentor, arrives in the morning at 
Pylos, where Nestor and his sons are sacrificing on the sea-shore to Neptune. 
Telemachus declares the occasion of his coming : and Nestor relates what passed 
in their return from Troy, how their fleets were separated, and he never since 
heard of Ulysses. They discourse concerning the death of Agamemnon, the re- 
venge of Orestes, and the injuries of the suitors. Nestor advises him to go to 
Sparta, and inquire further of Menelaiis. The sacrifice ending with the night, 
Minerva vanishes from them in the form of an eagle: Telemachus is lodged in 
the palace. The next morning they sacrifice a bullock to Minerva ; and Telema- 
chus proceeds on his journey to Sparta, attended by Pisistratus. 
The scene lies on the sea-shore of Pylos. 

THE sacred sun, above the waters raised, 
Through heaven's eternal brazen portals blazed ; 
And wide o'er earth diffused his cheering ray, 
To gods and men to give the golden day. 
Now on the coast of Pyle the vessel falls, 
Before old Neleus' venerable walls. 
There suppliant to the monarch of the flood, 
At nine green theatres the Pylians stood, 
Each held five hundred (a deputed train), 
At each, nine oxen on the sand lay slain. 
They taste the entrails, and the altars load 
With smoking thighs, an offering to the god. 
Full for the port the Ithacensians stand, 
And furl their sails, and issue on the land. 
Telemachus already press'd the shore ; 
Not first, the power of wisdom march'd before, 
And ere the sacrificing throng he join'd, 
Admonish'd thus his well-attending mind : 

" Proceed, my son ! this youthful shame expel ; 
An honest business never blush to tell. 
To learn what fates thy wretched sire detain, 
We pass'd the wide immeasurable main. 
Meet then the senior far renown'd for sense, 
With reverend awe, but decent confidence : 
Urge him with truth to frame his fair replies 
And sure he will : for wisdom never lies." 



BOOK III.] THE ODYSSEY. 33 

" Oh tell roe, Mentor ! tell me, faithful guide 
(The youth with prudent modesty replied), 
How shall I meet, or how accost the sage, 
Unskill'd in speech, nor yet mature of age ? 
Awful th' approach, and hard the task appears, 
To question wisely men of riper years." 

To whom the martial goddess thus rejoin'd : 
" Search, for some thoughts, thy own suggesting mind , 
And others, dictated by heavenly power, 
Shall rise spontaneous in the needful hour. 
For nought unprosperous shall thy ways attend, 
Born with good omens, and with heaven thy friend." 

She spoke, and led the way with swiftest speed : 
As swift, the youth pursued the way she led ; 
And join'd the band before the sacred fire, 
Where sate, encompass'd with his sons, the sire. 
The youth of Pylos, some on pointed wood' 
Transfix'cl the fragments, some prepared the food : 
In friendly throngs they gather to embrace 
Their unknown guests, and at the banquet place. 
Pisistratus was first to grasp their hands, 
And spread soft hides upon the yellow sands ; 
Along the shore the illust.i >us pair he led, 
Where Nestor sate with youthful Thrasymed. 
To each a portion of the feast he bore, 
And held the golden goblet foaming o'er ; 
Then first approaching to the elder guest, 
The latent goddess in these words adclress'd : 
" Whoe'er thou art, whom fortune brings to keep 
These rites of Neptune, monarch of the deep, 
Thee first it fits, O stranger! to prepare 
The due libation and the solemn prayer: 

Then give thy friend to shed the sacred wine :' 

Though much thy younger, and his years like mine, 

He too, I deem, implores the power divine: 

For all mankind alike require their grace, 

All born to want ; a miserable race ! " 

He spake, and to her hand preferr'd the bowl : 

A secret pleasure touch 'd Athena's soul, 

To see the preference due to sacred age 

Regarded ever by the just and sage. 

Of Ocean's king she then implores the grace. 

" O thou ! whose arms this ample globe embrace, 

Fulfil our wish, and let thy glory shine 

On Nestor first, and Nestor's royal line ; 

Next grant the Pylian states that just desires, 

Pleased with their hecatomb's ascending fires ; 
3 



34 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK III. 

Last, deign Telemachus and me to bless, 
And crown our voyage with desired success." 

Thus she : and having paid the rite divine, 
Gave to Ulysses' son the rosy wine. 
Suppliant he pray'd. And now the victims die 
They draw, divide, and celebrate the feast. 
The banquet done, the narrative old man, 
Thus mild, the pleasing conference began : 

" Now, gentle guests ! the genial banquet o'er, 
It fits to ask ye, what your native shore, 
And whence your race ? on what adventure, say, 
Thus far you wander through the watery way ?. 
Relate, if business, or the thirst of gain, 
Engage your journey o'er the pathless main : 
Where savage pirates seek through seas unknown 
The lives of others, venturous of their own." 

Urged by the precepts by the goddess given, 
And fill'd with confidence infused from Heaven, 
The youth, whom Pallas destined to be wise 
And famed among the sons of men, replies : 
" Inquir'st thou, father! from what coast we came ? 
(O grace and glory of the Grecian name !) 
From where high Ithaca o'erlooks the floods, 
Brown with o'eraYching shades and pendent woods, 
Up to these shores our filial duty draws, 
A private sorrow, not a public cause. 
My sire I seek, where'er the voice of fame 
Has told the glories of his noble name, 
The great Ulysses ; fanned from shore to shore 
For valor much, for hardy suffering more. 
Long time with thee before pro.ud Ilion's wall 
In arms he fought : with thee beheld her fall. 
Of all the chiefs, this hero's fate alone 
Has Jove reserved, unheard of, and unknown ; 
Whether in fields by hostile fury slain, 
Or sunk by tempests in the gulfy main ? 
Of this to learn, oppress'd with tender fears, 
Lo, at thy knee his suppliant son appears. 
If or thy certain eye, or curious ear, 
Have learnt his fate, the whole dark story clear ; 
And, oh ! whate'er Heaven destined to betide, 
Let neither flattery soothe, nor pity hide. 
Prepared I stand : he was but born to try 
The lot of man ; to suffer, and to die. 
Oh then, if ever through the ten years' war 
The wise, _the good Ulysses claim'd thy care ; 
If e'er he join'd thy council, or thy sword, 



BOOK III.] THE ODYSSEY. 35 

True in his deed, and constant to his word ; 
Far as thy mind through backward time can see, 
Search all thy stores of faithful memory: 
'Tis sacred truth I ask, and ask of thee." 

To him experienced Nestor thus rejoin'd : 
" O friend ! what sorrows dost thou bring to mind ! 
Shall 1 the long, laborious scene review, 
And open all the wounds of Greece anew ? 
What toils by sea ! where dark in quest of prey * 
Dauntless we roved ; Achilles led the way : 
What toils by land ! where mix'd in fatal fight 
Such numbers fell, such heroes sunk to-night ; 
There Ajax great, Achilles there the brave, 
There wise Patroclus, fill an early grave : 
There, too, my son ah, once my best delight, 
Once swift of foot, and terrible in fight; 
In whom stern courage with soft virtue join'd, 
A faultless body and a blameless mind : 
Antilochus What more can I relate ? 
How trace the tedious series of our fate ? 
Not added years on years my task could close, 
The long historian of my country's woes : 
Back to thy native islands might'st thou sail, 
And leave half heard the melancholy tale. 
Nine painful years on that detested shore ; 
What slrategems we form'd, what toils we bore ! 
Still laboring on. till scarce at last we found 
Great Jove propitious, and our conquest crown'd. 
Far o'er the rest thy mighty father shined, 
In wit, in prudence, and in force of mind. 
Art thou the son of that illustrious sire ? 
With joy I grasp thee, and with love admire. 
So like your voices, and your words so wise, 
Who finds thee younger must consult his eyes. 
Thy sire and I were one ; nor varied aught 
In public sentence, or in private thought; 
Alike to council or the assembly came, 
With equal souls, and sentiments the same. 
But \yhen (by wisdom won) proud Ilion burn'd. 
And in their ships the conquering Greeks return'd 
'Twas god's high will the victors to divide, 
And turn the event, confounding human pride : 
Some he destroy'd, some scatter'd as the dust, 

.t II m "V be borne in m!nf1 ' that P irar y was by no means accounted dishonorable 
in these early aires. Tlie local position of the Greek settlements would naturally keep 
piracy in honor longer than mi ? ht have been the case amongst a people less favorably 
situated for its exercise. -Coleridge, 244. 



36 THE ODYSSEY. |BooK III. 

(Not all were prudent, and not all were just). 

Then Discord, sent by Pallas from above, 

Stern daughter of the great avenger Jove, 

The brother-kings inspired with fell debate ; 

Who call'd to council all the Achaian state, 

But call'd untimely (not the sacred rite 

Observed, nor heedful of the setting light, 

Nor herald sworn the session to proclaim), 

Sour with debauch, a reeling tribe they came. 

To these the cause of meeting they explain, 

And Menelaiis moves to cross the main ; 

Not so the king of men : he will'd to stay. 

The sacred rites and hecatombs to pay, 

And calm Minerva's wrath. Oh blind to fate ! 

The gods not lightly change their love, or hate. 

With ireful taunts each other they oppose, 

Till in loud tumult all the Greeks arose. 

Now different counsels every breast divide, 

Each burns with rancor to the adverse side : 

The unquiet night strange projects entertain'd 

(So Jove, that urged us to our fate, ordain'd). 

We with the rising morn our ships unmoor'd, 

And brought our captives and our stores aboard ; 

But half the people with respect obey r d 

The king of men, and at his bidding stay'd. 

Now on the wings of wind our course we keep 

(For God hath smoothed the waters of the deep) ; 

For Tenedos we spread our eager oars, 

There land, and pay due victims to the powers : 

To bless our safe return, we join in prayer ; 

But angry Jove dispersed our vows in air, 

And raised new discord. Then (so Heaven decreed) 

Ulysses first and Nestor disagreed : 

Wise as he was, by various counsels sway'd, 

He there, though late, to please the monarch, stay'd. 

But I, determined, stem the foamy floods, 

Warn'd of the coming fury of the gods. 

With us, Tydides fear'd, and urged his haste : 

And Menelaiis came, but came the last, 

He join'd our vessels in the Lesbian bay, 

While yet we doubted of our watery way ; 

If to the right to urge the pilot's toil 

(The safer road), beside the Psyrian isle : 

Or the straight course to rocky Chios plough, 

And anchor under Mimas' * shaggy brow? 

* Mimas. A mountain range of Ionia, terminating in a promontory called Arg- 
ennum, facing the lower extremity of Chios. 



BOOK III.] THE ODYSSEY. 37 

We sought direction of thi power divine : 
The god propitious gave the guiding sign ; 
Through the mid seas he bid our navy steer, 
And in Euboea shun the woes we fear. 
The whistling winds already waked the sky; 
Before the whistling winds the vessels fly, 
With rapid swiftness cut the liquid way, 
And reach Gerestus at the point of day. 
There hecatombs of bulls, to Neptune slain, 
High-flaming please the monarch of the main. 
The fourth day shone, when all their labors o'er, 
Tydides' vessels touch'd the wish'd-for shore. 
But I to Pylos scud before the gales, 
The god still breathing on my swelling sails ; 
Separated from all, I safely landed here ; 
Their fales or fortunes never reach'd my ear. 
Yet when I learn'd, attend ; as here I sat, 
And ask'd each voyager each hero's fate ; 
Curious to know, and willing to relate. 

"Safe reach'd the Myrmidons their native land, 
Beneath Achilles' warlike son's command. 
Those, whom the heir of great Apollo's art, 
Brave Philoctetet saught to wing the dart: 
And those, whom Idomen from Ilion's plain 
Had led, securely cross'd the dreadful main. 
How Agamemnon touch'd his Argive coast, 
And how his life by fraud and force he lost, 
And how the murderer paid his forfeit breath ; 
What lands so distant from that scene of death 
But trembling heard the fame ? and heard, admire 
How well the son appeased his slaughter'*! sire ! 
Ev'n to the unhappy, that unjustly bleed, 
Heaven gives posterity, to avenge the deed. 
So fell >gysthus ; and may'st thou, my friend 
(On whom the virtues of thy sire descend, 
Make future times thy equal act adore, 
And be what brave Orestes was before ! " 

The prudent youth replied : " O thou the grace 
And lasting glory of the Grecian race ! 
Just was the vengeance, and to latest days 
Shall long posterity resound the praise. 
Some god this arm with equal prowess bless ! 
And the proud suitors shall its force confess ; 
Injurious man ! who while thy soul is sore 
Of fresh affronts, are meditating more. 
But Heaven denies this honor to my hand, 
Nor shall my father repossess the land : 



38 THE ODYSSEY, [BooK III. 

The father's fortune never to return, 

And the sad son's to suffer and to mourn ! " 

Thus he : and Nestor took the word : " My son, 
Is it then true, as distant rumors run, 
That crowds of rivals for thy mother's charms 
Thy palace fill with insults and alarms ? 
Say, is the fault, through tame submission, thine ? 
Or leagued against thee, do thy people join, 
Moved by some oracle, or voice divine ? 
And yet who knows, but ripening lies in fate 
An hour of vengeance for the afflicted state ; 
When great Ulysses shall suppress these harms, 
Ulysses singly, or all Greece in arms. 
But if Athena, war's triumphant maid, 
The happy son will as the father aid 
(Whose fame and safety was her constant care 
In every danger and in every war: 
Never on man did heavenly favor shine 
With rays so strong, distinguished, and divine, 
As those with which Minerva mark'd thy sire), 
So might she love thee, so thy soul inspire ! 
Soon should their hopes in humbie dust be laid, 
And long oblivion of the bridal bed." 

" Ah ! no such hope (the prince with sighs replies) 
Can touch my breast ; that blessing heaven denies. 
Ev'n by celestial favor were it given, 
Fortune or fate would cross the will of Heaven." 

" What words are these, and what imprudence thine ? 
(Thus interposed the martial maid divine) 
Forgetful youth ! but know, the Power above 
With ease can save each object of his love ; 
Wide as his will, extends his boundless grace 
Nor lost in time nor circumscribed by place. . 
Happier his lot, who, many sorrows pass'd, 
Long laboring gains his natal shore at last ; 
Than who, too speedy, hastes to end his life 
By some stern ruffian, or adulterous wife. 
Death only is the lot which none can miss, 
And all is possible to Heaven but this. 
The best, the dearest favorite of the sky, 
Must taste that cup, for man is born to die." 

Thus checked, replied Ulysses' prudent heir : 
"Mentor, no more the mournful thought forbear; 
For he no more must draw his country's breath, 
Already snatch'd by fate, and the black doom of death I 
Pass we to other subjects ; and engage 
On themes remote the venerable sage 



BOOK III.] THE ODYSSEY. 39 

(Who thrice has seen the perishable kind 
Of men decay, and through thrjee ages shined 
Like gods majestic, and like gods in mind); 
For much he knows, and just conclusions draws, 
From various precedents, and various laws. 
O son of Neleus ! awful Nestor, tell 
How he, the mighty Agamemnon, fell ; 
By what strange fraud yEgysthus wrought, relate 
(By force he could not) such a hero's fate ? 
Lived Menelaiis not in Greece ? or where 
Was then the martial brother's pious care ? 
Condemn'd perhaps some foreign shore to tread ; 
Or sure ^Egysthus had not dared the deed." 

To whom the full of days: Illustrious youth, 
Attend (though partly thou hast guess 'd) the truth. 
For had the martial Menelaiis found 
The ruffian breathing yet on Argive ground; 
Nor earth had hid his carcase from the skies 
Nor Grecian virgins shriek'd his obsequies, 
But fowls obscene dismember'd his remains, 
And dogs had torn him on the naked plains. 
While us the works of bloody Mars employ'd, 
The wanton youth inglorious peace enjoy'd : 
He stretch'd at ease in Argos* calm recess 
(Whose stately steeds luxuriant pastures bless), 
With flattery's insinuating art 
Soothed the frail queen, and poison'd all her heart. 
At first, with worthy shame and decent pride, 
The royal dame his lawless suit denied. 
For virtue's image yet possess'd her mind, 
Taught by a master of the tuneful kind : 
Atrides, parting for the Trojan war, 
Consign'd- the youthful consort to his care. 
True to his charge, the bard preserved her long 
In honor's limits ; such the power of song. 
But when the gods these objects of their hate 
Dragg'd to destruction by the links of fate ; 
The bard they banish'd from his native soil, 
And left all helpless in a desert isle : 
There he, the sweetest of the sacred train, 
Sung dying to the rocks, but sung in vain. 
Then virtue was no more : her guard away, 
She fell, to lust a voluntary prey. 
Even to the temple stalk'd' the adulterous spouse, 
With impious thanks, and mockery of vows, 
With images, with garments, and with gold ; 
And odorous fumes from loaded alters roll'd. 



40 THE ODYSSEY. [BooKlII- 

" Meantime from flaming Troy we cut the way, 
With Menelaus, through the curling sea. 
But when to Sunium's sacred point we came,* 
Crown'd with the temple of the Athenian dame ; 
Atrides' pilot, Phrontes, there expired 
(Phrontes, of all the sons of men admired 
To steer the bounding bark with steady toil, 
When the storm thickens, and the billows boil); 
While yet he exercised the steersman's art, 
Apollo touch'd him with his gentle dart ; f 
Even with the rudder in his hand, he fell. 
To pay whose honors to the shades of hell, 
We check'd our haste, by pious office bound, 
And laid our old companion in the ground. 
And now, the rites discharged, our course we keep 
Far on the gloomy bosom of the deep : 
Soon as Malaga's misty topi, arise, % 
Sudden the Thunderer blackens all the skies, 
And the winds whistle, and the surges roll 
Mountains on mountains, and obscure the pole. 
The tempest scatters, and divides our fleet ; 
Part, the storm urges on the coast of Crete, 
Where winding round the rich Cydonian plain, 
The streams of Jardan issue to the main. 
There stands a rock, high, eminent and steep, 
Whose shaggy brow o'erhangs the shady deep, 
And views Gortyna on the western side ; 
On this rough Auster drove the impetuous tide. 
With broken force the billows roll'd away. 
And heaved the fleet into the neighb'ring bay. 
Thus saved from death, they gain'd the Phaestan shores 
With shatter'd vessels and disabled oars : 
But five tall barks the winds and waters toss'd, 
Far from their fellows, on the /Egyptian coast. 
There wander'd Menelaus through foreign shores ; 
Amassing gold, and gathering naval stores; 
While cursed /Egysthus the detested deed 
By fraud fulfilled, and his great brother bled. 
Seven years, the traitor rich Mycenae sway'd, 
And his stern rule the groaning land obey'd ; 
The eighth, from Athens to his realm restored, 
Orestes brandish'd the avenging sword, 

* S'.otium. A promontory of Athens, about forty-five miles distant from the 
Piraeus. 

t Sudden or mysterious deaths were ascribed to the agency of Apollo. 

t Maltfti, a promontory separating the Gulfs of Laconia and Argolis. It was 
considered the most dangerous part in the circumnavigation of the peninsula. 



BOOK III.] THE ODYSSEY. 41 

Slew the dire pair, and gave to funeral flame 

The vile assassin, and adulterous dame. 

That day, ere yet the bloody triumphs cease, 

Return'd Atrides to the coast of Greece, 

And safe to Argos' port his navy brought, 

With gifts of price and ponderous treasure fraught 

Hence warn'd, my son, beware ! nor idly stand 

Too long a stranger to thy native land ; 

Lest heedless absence wear thy wealth away, 

While lawless feasters in thy palace sway ; 

Perhaps may seize thy realm, and share the spoil ; 

And thou return, with disappointed toil, 

From thy vain journey, to a rifled isle. 

Howe'er, my friend, indulge one labor more, 

And seek Atrides on the Spartan shore. 

He, wandering long, a wider circle made, . 

And many-languaged nations has survey'd : 

And measured tracks unknown to other ships, 

Amid the monstrous wonders of the deeps, 

(A length of ocean and unbounded sky, 

Which scarce the sea-fowl in a year o'erfly) : 

Go then ; to Sparta take the watery way, 

Thy ship and sailors but for orders stay; 

Or, if my land thou choose thy course to bend, 

My steeds, my chariots, and my sons, attend : 

Thee to Atrides they shall safe convey, 

Guides of thy road, companions of thy way. 

Urge him with truth to frame his wise' replies, 

And sure he will: for Menelaiis is wise." 

Thus while he speaks the ruddy sun descends, 
And twilight gray her evening shade extends. 
Then thus the blue-eyed maid : * " O full of days ! 
Wise are thy words, and just are all thy ways. 
Now immolate the tongues, and mix the wine, 
Sacred to Neptune and the powers divine. 
The lamp of clay is quenched beneath the deep, 
And soft approach the balmy hours of sleep : 
Nor fits it to prolong the heavenly feast, 
Timeless, indecent, but retire to rest." 

So spake Jove's daughter, the celestial maid, 
The sober train attended and obey'd. 
The sacred heralds on their hands around 
Pour'd the full urns ; the youths the goblets crown'd; 
From bowl to bowl the homely beverage flows 
While to the final sacrifice they rose. 



Blue-eyed. This is scarcely correct. The original word is 
denotes the sandy brown-green color of a cat's or lion's eye. 



42 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK III. 

The tongues they cast upon the fragrant flame, 

And pour, above, the consecrated stream. 

And now, their thirst by copious draughts allay'd, 

The youthful hero and the Athenian maid 

Propose departure from the finish'd rite, 

And in their hollow bark to pass the night 

But this the hospitable sage denied, 

" Forbid it, Jove ! and all the gods ! (he cried) 

Thus from my walls the much-loved son to send 

Of such a hero, and of such a friend ! 

Me, as some needy peasant, would ye leave, 

Whom Heaven denies the blessing to relieve ? 

Me would ye leave, who boast imperial sway, 

When beds of royal state invite your stay ? 

No long as life this mortal shall inspire, 
.Or as my children imitate their sire, 

Here shall the- wandering stranger find his home, 

And hospitable rites adorn the dome." 

" Well hast thou spoke (the blue-eyed maid replies), 

Beloved old man ! benevolent as wise. 

Be the kind dictates of thy heart obey'd, 

And let my words Telemachus persuade : 

He to thy palace shall thy steps pursue ; 

I to the ship, to give the orders clue, 

Prescribe directions and confirm the crew. 

For I alone sustain their naval cares, 

Who boast experience from these silver hairs ; 
All youths the rest, whom to this journey move 
Like years, like tempers, and their prince's love. 
There in the vessel shall I pass the night; 
And, soon as morning paints the fields of light, 
I go to challenge from the Caucons bold 
A debt, contracted in the days of old. 
But this thy guest, received with friendly care, 
Let thy strong coursers swift to Sparta bear : 
Prepare thy chariot at the dawn of day, 
And be thy son companion of his way." 

Then, turning with the word, Minerva flies, 
And soars an eagle through the liquid skies. 
Vision divine ! the throng'd spectators gaze 
In holy wonder fix'd, and still amaze. 
But chief the reverend sage admired ; he took 
The hand of young Telemachus, and spoke : 
" Oh, happy youth ! and favored of the skies, 
Distinguish'd care of guardian deities ! 
Whose early years for future worth engage, 
No vulgar manhood, no ignoble age. 



BOOK III.] THE ODYSSEY. 43 

For lo ! none other of the court above 
Than she, the daughter of almighty Jove, 
Pallas herself, the war-triumphant maid, 
Confess'd is thine, as once thy father's aid. 
So guide me, goddess ! so propitious shine 
On me, my consort, and my royal line ! 
A yearling bullock to thy name shall smoke, 
Untamed, unconscious of the galling yoke, 
With ample forehead, and yet tunder horns, 
Whose budding honors ductile gold adorns." 

Submissive thus the hoary sire preferr'd 
His holy vow : the favoring goddess heard. 
Then, slowly rising, o'er the sandy space 
Precedes the father, follow'd by his race 
(A long procession), timely marching home 
In comely order to the regal dome, 
There when arrived, on thrones around him placed. 
His sons and grandsons the wide circle graced. 
To these the hospitable sage, in sign 
Of social welcome, mix'd the racy wine 
(Late from the mellowing cask restored to light, 
By ten long years refined, and rosy bright). 
To Pallas high the foaming bowl he crown'd, 
And sprinkled large libations on the ground. 
Each drinks a full oblivion of his cares, 
And to the gifts of balmy sleep repairs. 
Deep in a rich alcove the prince was laid, 
And slept beneath the pompous colonnade : 
Fast by his side Pisistratus lay spread 
(In age his equal i, on a splendid bed; 
But in an inner court, securely closed, 
The reverend Nestor and his queen reposed. 

When now Aurora, daughter of the dawn, 
With rosy lustre purpled o'er the lawn, 
The old man early rose, walk'd forth, and sate 
On polish'd stone before his palace gate : 
With unguents smooth the lucid marble shone, 
Where ancient Neleus sate, a rustic throne ; 
But he descending to the infernal shade, 
Sage Nestor fill'd it, and the sceptre sway'd. 
His sons around him mild obeisance pay, 
And duteous take the orders of the day. 
First Echephron and Stratius quit their bed 
Then Perseus Aretus, and Thrasymed ; 
The last Pisistratus arose from rest : 
They came, and near him placed the stranger-guest 
To these the senior thus declared his will : 



44 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK III. 

" My sons ! the dictates of your sire fulfil. 
To Pallas, first of^gods, prepare the feast, 
Who graced our rites a more than mortal guest. 
Let one, despatchful, bid some swain to lead 
A well-fed bullock from the grassy mead ; 
One seek the harbor where the vess.els moor, 
And bring thy friends, Telemachus ! ashore 
(Leave only two the galley to attend) ; 
Another to Laerceus must we send, 
Artist divine, whose skilful hands infold 
The victim's horn with circumfusile gold. 
The rest may here the pious duty share, 
And bid the handmaids for the feast prepare, 
The seats to range, the fragrant wood to bring, 
And limpid waters from the living spring." 

He said, and busy each his care bestow'd ; 
Already at the gates the bullock low'd, 
Already came the Ithacensian crew, 
The dexterous smith the tools already drew : 
His ponderous hammer and his anvil sound, 
And the strong tongs to turn the metal round. 
Nor was Minerva absent from the rite, 
She view'd her honors, and enjoy'd the sight. 
With reverend hand the king presents the gold, 
Which round the intorted horns the gilder roll'd, 
So wrought, as Pallas might with pride behold. 
Young Aretus from forth his bridal bower 
Brought the full laver, o'er their hands to pou- 
And canisters of consecrated flour. 
Stratius and Echephron the victim led ; 
The axe was held by warlike Thrasymed, 
In act to strike : before him Perseus stood, 
The vase extending to receive the blood. 
The king himself initiates to the power ; 
Scatters with quivering hand the sacred flour, 
And the stream sprinkles : from the curling brows 
The hair collected, in the fire he throws. 
Soon as due vows on every part were paid, 
And sacred wheat upon the victim laid, 
Strong Thrasymed discharged the speeding blow 
Full on his neck, and cut the nerves in two. 
Down sunk the heavy beast : the females round, 
Maids, wives, and matrons, mix a shrilling sound 
Nor scorn'd the queen the holy choir to join 
(The first-born she, of old Clymenus' line : 
In youth by Nestor loved, of spotless fame 
And loved in age, Eurydice her name). 



BOOK III.] THE ODYSSEY. 45 

From earth they rear him, struggling now with death ; 

And Nestor's youngest stops the vents of breath. 

The soul for ever flies : on all sides round 

Stream the black blood, and smokes upon the ground. 

The beast they then divide, and disunite 

The ribs and limbs, observant of the rite : 

On these, in double cauls involved with art, 

The choicest morsels lay from every part. 

The sacred sage before his altar stands, 

Turns the burnt-offering with his holy hands. 

And pours the wine, and bids the flames aspire : 

The youth with instruments surround the fire. 

The thighs now sacrificed, and entrails dress'd, 

The assistants part, transfix, and broil the rest. 

While these officious tend the rites divine, 

The last fair branch of the Nestorean line, 

Sweet Polycaste, took the pleasing toil 

To bathe the prince, and pour the fragrant oil. 

O'er his fair limbs a flowery vest he threw, 

And issued, like a god, to mortal view. 

His former seat beside the king he found' 

(His people's father with his peers around) ; 

All placed at ease the holy banquet join, 

And in the dazzling go"blet laughs the wine. 

The rage of thirst and hunger now suppress'd, 
The monarch turns him to his royal guest ; 
And for the promised journey bids prepare 
The smooth-hair'd horses, and the rapid car. 
Observant of his word, the word scarce spoke, 
The sons obey, and join them to the yoke. 
Then bread and wine a ready handmaid brings, 
And presents, such as suit the state of kings. 
The glittering seat Telemachus ascends ; 
His faithful guide Pisistratus attends ; 
With hasty hand the ruling reins he di"ew : 
He lash'd the coursers, and the coursers flew. 
Beneath the bounding yoke alike ihey held 
Their equal pace, and smoked along the field. 
The towers of Pylos sink, its views decay, 
Fields after fields fly back, till clo. o of day : 
Then sunk the sun, and darken'd all the way. 

To Pliers now, Diocleus' stately seat 
(Of Alpheus' race), the weary youths retreat. 
His house affords the hospitable rite, 
And pleased they sleep (the blessing of the night). 
But when Aurora, daughter of the dawn 
With rosy lustre purpled o'er the lawn, 



46 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK III. 

Again they mount, their journey to renew, * 
And from the sounding portico they flew. 
Along the waving fields their way they hold, 
The fields receding as their chariot roll'd : 
Then slowly sunk the ruddy globe of light, 
And o'er the shaded landscape rush'd the night. 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 4J 



BOOK IV. 

ARGUMENT. 

THE CONFERENCE WITH MBNBLAUS. 

Telemachus with Pisistratus arriving at Sparta, is hospitably received by Menelaiis, 
to whom he relates the cause of his coming, and learns from him many particulars 
of what befell the Greeks since the destruction of Troy. He dwells more at large 
upon the prophecies of Proteus to him in his- return ; from which he acquaints 
Telemachus, that Ulysses is detained in the island of Calypso. 

In the mean time the suitors consult to destroy Telemachus in his voyage 
home. Penelope is apprised of this ; but comforted in a dream by Pallas, in the 
shape of her sister Jphthima. 

AND now proud Sparta with their wheels resounds, 
Sparta whose walls a range of hills surrounds : 
At the fair dome the rapid labor ends ; 
Where sate Atrides 'midst his bridal friends, 
With double vows invoking Hymen's power, 
To bless his son's and daughter's nuptial hour. 

That day, to great Achilles' son resign'd, 
Hermione, the fairest of her kind, 
Was sent to crown the long-protracted joy, 
Espoused before the final doom of Troy : 
With steeds and gilded cars, a gorgeous train 
Attend the nymphs to Phthia's distant reign. 
Meanwhile at home, to Megapenthes' bed 
The virgin-choir Alector's daughter led. 
Brave Megapenthes from a stolen amour 
To great Atrides' age his handmaid bore : 
To Helen's bed the gods alone assign 
Hermione, to extend the regal line ; . 
On whom a radiant pomp of Graces wait, 
Resembling Venus in attractive state. 

While this gay friendly troop the king surround, 
With festival and mirth the roofs resound : 
A bard amid the joyous circle sings 
High airs, attemper'd to the vocal strings ; 
Whilst, warbling to the varied strain, advance 
Two sprightly youths to form the bounding dance, 
'Twas then, that, issuing through the palace gate, 
The splendid car roll'd s.low in regal state : 



48 THE ODYSSEY. I BOOK IV. 

On the bright eminence young Nestor shone, 
And fast beside him great Ulysses' son ; 
Grave Eteoneus saw the pomp appear, 
And speeding, thus address'd the royal ear: 

" Two youths approach, whcse semblant features prove 
Their blood devolving from the source of Jove. 
Is due reception deign'd, or must they bend 
Their doubtful course to seek a distant friend ? " 

" Insensate ! (with a sigh the king replies,) 
Too long, misjudging, have I thought thee wise : 
But sure relentless folly steals thy breast, 
Obdurate to reject the stranger-guest ; 
To those dear hospitable rites a foe, 
Which in my wanderings oft Relieved my woe : 
Fed by the bounty of another's board, 
Till pitying Jove my native realm restored 
Straight be the couriers from the car released, 
Conduct the youths to grace the genial feast." 

The seneschal, rebuked, in haste withdrew; 
With equal haste a menial train pursue : 
Part led the coursers, from the car enlarged, 
Each to a crib with choicest grain surcharged ; 
Part in a portico, profusely graced 
With rich magnificence, the chariot placed: 
Then to the dome the friendly pair invite, 
Who eye the dazzling roofs with vast delight ; 
Resplendent as the blaze of summer noon, 
Or the pale radiance of the midnight moon. 
From room to room their eager view they bend ; 
Thence to the bath, a beauteous pile, descend ; 
Where a bright damsel train attends the guests 
With liquid odors, and embroider'd vests. 
Refresh'd, they wait them to the bower of state, 
Where, circled with his peers, Atrides sate : 
Throned next the king, a fair attendant brings 
The purest product of the crystal springs ; 
High on a massy vase of silver mould, 
The burnish 'd laver flames with solid gold; 
In solid gold the purple vintage flows, 
And on the board a second banquet rose. 
When thus the king, with hospitable port; 
" Accept this welcome to the Spartan court : 
The waste of nature let the feast repair, 
Then your high lineage and your names declare ; 
Say from what sceptred ancestrv ye claim, 
Recorded eminent in deathless fame. 
For vulgar parents cannot stamp their race 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 49 

With signatures of such majestic grace." 

Ceasing, benevolent he straight assigns 
The royal portion of the choicest chines 
To each accepted friend : with grateful haste 
They share the honors of the rich repast. 
Sufficed, soft whispering thus to Nestor's son, 
His head reclined, young Ithacus begun: 

" View'st thou unmoved, O ever-honor'd most ! 
These prodigies of art, and wondrous cost ! 
Above, beneath, around the palace shines 
The sunless treasure of exhausted mines : 
The spoils of elephants the roofs inlay, 
And studded amber darts a golden ray : 
Such, and not nobler, in the realms above 
My wonder dictates is the dome of Jove." 

The monarch took the word, and grave replied : 
" Presumptuous are the vaunts, and vain the pride 
Of man, who dares in pomp with Jove contest, 
Unchanged, immortal, and supremely blest! 
With all my affluence, when my woes are weigh'd. 
Envy will own the purchase dearly paid. 
For eight slow-circling years, by tempests tgss'd, 
From Cyprus to the far Phoenician coast 
(Sidon the capital), I stretch'd my toil 
Through regions fatten'd with the flows of Nile. 
Next Ethiopia's utmost bound explore, 
And the parch'd borders of the Arabian shore : 
Then warp my voyage on the southern gales, 
O'er the warm Lybian wave to spread my sails : 
That happy clime, where each revolving year 
The teeming ewes a triple offspring bear; 
And two fair crescents of translucent horn 
The brows of all their young increase adorn : 
The shepherd swains, with sure abundance blest, 
On the fat flock and rural dainties feast ; 
Nor want of herbage makes the dairy fail, 
But every season fills the foaming pail. 
Whilst, heaping unwash'd wealth, I distant roam, 
The best of brothers, at his natal home, 
By the dire fury of a traitress wife, 
Ends the sad evening of a stormy life : 
Whence, with incessant grief my soul annoy'd, 
These riches are possess'd, but not enjoy'd ! 
My wars, the copious theme of every tongue, 
To you your fathers have recorded long : 
How favoring Heaven repaid my glorious toils 
With sack'd palace, and barbaric spoils. 
4 



50 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

Oh ! had the gods so large a boon denied, 
And life, the just equivalent, supplied 
To those brave warriors, who, with glory fired, 
Far from their country, in my cause expired ! 
Still in short intervals of pleasing woe, 
Regardful of the friendly dues I owe, 
I to the glorious dead, forever dear ! 
Indulge the tribute of a grateful tear. 
But oh ! Ulysses deeper than the rest 
That sad idea wounds my anxious breast ! 
My heart bleeds fresh with agonizing pain ; 
The bowl and tasteful viands tempt in vain ; 
Nor sleep's soft power can close my streaming eyes, 
When imaged to my soul his sorrows rise. 
No peril in my cause he ceased to prove, 
His labors equall'd only by my love : 
And both alike to bitter fortune born, 
For him to suffer, and for me to mourn ! 
Whether he wanders on some friendly coast, 
Or glides in Stygian gloom a pensive ghost,* 
No fame reveals ; but, doubtful of his doom, 
His good old sire with sorrow to the tomb 
Declines his trembling steps ; untimely care 
Withers the blooming vigor of his heir; 
And the chaste partner of his bed and throne 
Wastes all her widow'd hours in tender moan. 
While thus pathetic to the prince he spoke, 
From the brave youth the streaming passion broke: 
Studious to veil the grief, in vain repress'd, 
His face he shrouded with his purple vest. 
The conscious monarch pierced the coy disguise, 
And view'd his filial love with vast surprise : 
Dubious to press the tender theme, or wait 
To hear the youth inquire his father's fate. 
In this suspense bright Helen graced the room 
Before her breathed a gale ot rich perfume. 
So moves, adorn'd with each attractive grace, 
The silver-shafted goddess of the chase ! 
The seat of majesty Adraste" brings, 
With art illustrious, for the pomp of kings; 
To spread the pall (beneath the regal chair) 
Of softest woof, is bright Alcippe's care. 
A silver canister, divinely wrought, 
In her soft hands the beauteous Phylo brought ; 



* Of the gloomy ideas entertained by Homer, relative to a future state, some 
account will be given when we come to the descent into Hades. 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 51 

To Sparta's queen of old the radiant vase 

Alcandra gave, a pledge of royal grace : 

For Polybus her lord (whose sovereign sway 

The wealthy tribes of Pharian Thebes obey), 

When to that court Atrides came, caress'd 

With vast munificence the imperial guest: 

Two lavers from the richest ore refined, 

With silver tripods, the kind host assign'd ; 

And bounteous from the royal treasure told 

Ten equal talents of refulgent gold. 

Alcandra, consort of his high command, 

A golden distaff gave to Helen's hand ; 

And that rich vase, with living sculpture wrought, 

Which heap'd with wool the beauteous Phylo brought: 

The silken fleece, impurpled for the loom, 

Rivall'd the hyacinth in vernal bloom. 

The sovereign seat then Jove-born Helen press ; d, 

And pleasing thus her sceptred lord address'd : 

" Who grace our palace now, that friendly pair, 
Speak they their lineage, or their names declare? 
Uncertain of the truth, yet uncontroll'd, 
Hear me the Lodings of'my breast unfold. 
With wonder wrapp'd, on yonder cheek I trace 
The feature of the Ulyssean race : 
Diffused o'er each resembling line appear, 
In just similitude, the grace and air 
Of young Telemachus ! the lovely boy, 
Who bless'd Ulvsses with a father's joy, 
What time the Greeks combined their social arms, 
To avenge the stain of my ill-fated charms ! " 

"Just is thy thought (the king assenting cries), 
Methinks Ulysses strikes my wandering eyes : 
Full shines the father in the'filial frame, 
His port, his features, and his shape the same : 
Such quick regards his sparkling eyes bestow; 
Such wavy ringlets o'er his shoulders flow ! 
And when he heard the long disastrous store 
Of cares, which in my cause Ulysses bore ; 
Dismay'd, heart-wounded with paternal woes, 
Above restraint the tide of sorrow rose : 
Cautious to let the gushing grief appear, 
His purple garment veil'd the falling tear." 

"See there confess'd (Pisistratus replies) 
The genuine worth of Ithacus the wise! 
Of that heroic sire the youth is sprung, 
But modest awe hath chain'd his timorous tongue. 
Thy voice, O king! with pleased attention heard, 



.S2 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

Is like the dictates of a god revered, 

With him, at Nestor's high command, I came, 

Whose age I honor with a parent's name. 

By adverse destiny constrained to sue 

For counsel and redress, he sues to you. 

Whatever ill the friendless orphan bears, 

Bereaved of parents in his infant years, 

Still must the wrong'd Telemachus sustain, 

If. hopeful of your aid, he hopes in vain : 

Affianced in your friendly power alone, 

The youth would vindicate the vacant throne." 

" Is Sparta blest, and these desiring eyes 
View my friend's son ? (the king exulting cries) ; 
Son of my friend, by glorious toils approved, 
Whose sword was sacred to the man he loved : 
Mirror of constant faith, revered and mourn'd ! 
When Troy was ruin'd, had the chief return'd, 
No Greek an equal space had ere possess'd, 
Of dear affection, in my grateful breast. 
I, to confirm the mutual joys we shared, 
For his abode a capital prepared ; 
Argos, the seat of sovereign rule, I chose ; 
Fair in the plan the future palace rose, 
Where my Ulysses and his race might reign, 
And portion to his tribes the wide domain. 
To them my vassals had resign'd a soil. 
With teeming plenty to reward their toil. 
There with commutual zeal we both had strove 
In acts of dear benevolence and love : 
Brothers in peace, not rivals in command, 
And death alone dissolved the friendly band ! 
Some envious power the blissful scene destroys ; 
Vanish'd are all the visionary joys : 
The soul of friendship to my hope is lost, 
Fated to wander from his natal coast ! " 

He ceased ; a gust of grief began to rise : 
Fast streams a tide from beauteous Helen's eyes ; 
Fast for the sire the filial sorrows flow ; 
The weeping monarch swells the mighty woe : 
Thy cheeks, Pisistratus, the tears bedew, 
While pictured to thy mind appear'd in view 
Thy martial brother:* on the Phrygian plain 
Extended pale, by swarthy Memnon slain ! 
But silence soon the son of Nestor broke, 
And, melting with fraternal pity, spoke : 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 53 

" Frequent, O king, was Nestor wont to raise 
And charm attention with thy copious praise : 
To crowd thy various gifts, the sage assign'd 
The glory of a firm capacious mind : 
With that superior attribute control 
This unavailing impotence of soul. 
Let not your roof with echoing grief resound, 
Now for the feast the friendly bowl is crown'd ; 
But when, from dewy shade emerging bright, 
Aurora streaks the sky with orient light, 
Let each deplore his dead : the rites of woe 
Are all, alas ! the living can bestow: 
O'er the congenial dust enjoin'd to shear 
The graceful curl, and drop the tender tear. 
Then, mingling in the mournful pomp with you, 
I'll pay my brother's ghost a warrior's due, 
And mourn the brave Antilochus, a name 
Not unrecorded in the rolls of fame ; 
With strength and speed superior form'd, in fight 
To face the foe, or intercept his flight : 
Too early snatch'd by fate ere known to me ! 
I boast a witness of his worth in thee." 

"Young and mature ! (the monarch thus rejoins), 
In thee renew'd the soul of Nestor shines : 
Form'd by the care of that consummate sage, 
In early bloom an oracle of age. 
Whene'er his influence Jove vouchsafes to shower, 
To bless the natal and the nuptial hour ; 
From the great sire transmissive to the race, 
.The boon devolving gives distinguish'd grace. 
Such, happy Nestor ! was thy glorious doom ; 
Around thee, full of years, thy offspring bloom, 
Expert of arms, and prudent in debate ; 
The gifts of Heaven to guard thy hoary state. 
But now let each becalm his troubled breast, 
Wash, and partake serene the friendly feast. 
To move thy suit, Telemachus, delay, 
Till heaven's revolving lamp restores the day." 

H? said, Asphalion swift the laver brings ; 
Alternate all partake the grateful springs : 
Then from the rites of purity repair, 
And with keen gust the savory viands share. 
Meantime, with genial joy to warm the soul, 
Bright Helen mix'd a mirth-inspiring bowl: 
Temper'd with drugs of sovereign use, to assuage 
The boiling bosom of tumultuous rage ; 
To clear the cloudy front of wrinkled Care, 



54 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

And dry the tearful sluices of Despair : 

Charm 'd with that virtuous draught, the exalted mind 

All sense of woe delivers to the wind. 

Though on the blazing pile his parent lay, 

Or a loved brother groan'd his life away, 

Or darling son, oppress'd by ruffian force, 

Fell breathless at his feet, a mangled corse; 

From morn to eve, impassive and serene, 

The man entranced would view the dreadful scene. 

These drugs, so friendly to the joys of life, 

Bright Helen learn'd from Thone's imperial wife 

Who sway'd the sceptre, where prolific Nile 

With various simples clothes the fatten'd soil. 

With wholesome herbage mix'd, the direful bane 

Of vegetable venom taints the plain ; 

From Paeon sprung, their patron-god imparts 

To all the Pharian race his healing arts. 

The beverage now prepared to inspire the feast, 

The circle thus the beauteous queen address'd: 

"Throned in omnipotence, supremest Jove 
Tempers the fates of human race above ; 
By the firm sanction of his sovereign will, 
Alternate are decreed our good and ill. 
To feastful mirth be this white hour assign'd, 
And sweet discourse, the banquet of the mind. 
Myself, assisting in the social joy, 
Will tell Ulysses' bold exploit in Troy, 
Sole witness of the deed I now declare : 
Speak you (who saw) his wonders in the war. 

"Seam'd o'er with wounds, which his own sabre gave, 
In the vile habit of a village slave, 
The foe deceived, he pass'd the tented plain, 
In Troy to mingle with the hostile train. 
In this attire secure from searching eyes, 
Till haply piercing through the dark disguise, 
The chief I challenged ; he, whose practised wit 
Knew all the serpent mazes of deceit, 
Eludes my search : but when his form I view'd 
Fresh from the bath, with fragrant oils renew'd, 
His limbs in military purple dress'd. 
Each brightening grace the genuine Greek confess'd. 
A previous pledge of sacred faith obtain'd, 
Till he the lines and Argive fleet regain'd, 
To keep his stay conceal'd ; the chief declared 
The plans of war against the town prepared. 
Exploring then the secrets of the state, 
He learn'd what best might urge the Dardan fate : 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 55 

And, safe returning to the Grecian host, 
Sent many a shade to Pluto's dreary coast. 
Loud grief resounded through the towers of Troy, 
But my pleased bosom glow'd with secret joy : 
For then, with dire remorse and conscious shame, 
I view'd the effects of that disastrous flame, 
Which, kindled by the imperious queen of love, 
Constrain'd me from my native realm to rove : 
And oft in bitterness of soul deplored 
My absent daughter and my dearer lord ; 
Admired among the first of human race, 
For every gift of mind and manly grace." 

" Right well (replied the king) your speech displays 
The matchless merit of the chief you praise : 
Heroes in various climes myself have found, 
For martial deeds and depth of thought renown'd ; 
But Ithacus, unrivall'd in his claim, 
May boast a title to the loudest fame : 
In battle calm he guides the rapid storm, 
Wise to resolve, and patient to perform. 
What wondrous conduct in the chief appear'd, 
When the vast fabric of the steed we rear'd ! * 
Some demon, anxious for the Trojan doom, 
Urged you with great Deiphobus to come, 
To explore the fraud ; with guile opposed to guile, 
Slow-pacing thrice around the insiduous pile, 
Each noted leader's name you thrice invoke, 
Your accent varying as their spouses spoke ! 
^he pleasing sounds each latent warrior warm'd, 
But most Tydides' and my heart alarm'd : 
To quit the steed we both impatient press, 
Threatening to answer from the dark recess. 
Unmoved the mind of Ithacus remain'd ; 
And the vain ardors of our love restrain'd : 



* The steed, i. e. the wooden horse. Coleridge observes: " The only machine 
we have mentioned is the well-known wooden horse a sufficiently clumsy ore cer- 
tainly, and yet towns have really been taken by stratagems of the same kind, and 
scarcely superior to it. The romantic period to which 1 just now referred, affords an 
authentic example. In the reign of Omar, the second Khaliff, Abu Obeidah, the 
Saracen general in Syria, took Arrestan in the following manner: He requested and 
obtained leave of the governor to deposit in the town some old lumber which impeded 
the rapidity of his march. Twenty large chests, with sliding bottoms, were fried 
with men, and carried into the castle, and Abu Obeidah then marched away, leaving 
Khaled only, with some troops, concealed in the neighborhood to act in concert with 
the adventure. When the Christians were assembled in the churches to return thanks 
for the departure of the enemy, Derar, Abdorrahman, and the other chiefs, made 
their way out of the chests, liberated their companions, seized the governor's wife, 
and got possession of the keys of the gates. One party surprised the great church, 
and raised the war-cry, and Khaled soon came to their assistance. Ariestan was 
taken without further opposition." 



56 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

But Anticlus, unable to control, 

Spoke loud the language of his yearning soul : 

Ulysses straight, with indignation fired 

(For so the common care of Greece required), 

Firm to his lips his forceful hands applied, 

Till on his tongue the fluttering murmurs died. 

Meantime Minerva, from the fraudful horse, 

Back to the court of Priam bent your course." 

"Inclement fate ! (Telemachus replies), 
Frail is. the boasted attribute of wise : 
The leader mingling with the vulgar host, 
Is in the common mass of matter lost! 
But now let sleep the painful waste repair 
Of sad reflection and corroding care." 

He ceased; the menial fair that round her wait, 
At Helen's beck prepare the room of state ; 
Beneath an ample portico they spread 
The downy fleece to form the slumberous bed ; 
And o'er soft palls of purple grain unfold 
Rich tapestry, stiff with interwoven gold : 
Then, through the illumined dome, to balmy rest 
The obsequious herald guides each princely guest; 
While to his regal bower the king ascends, 
And beauteous Helen on her lord attends. 

Soon as the morn, in orient purple dress'd, 
Unbarr'd the portal of the roseate east, 
The monarch rose ; magnificent to view, 
The imperial mantle o'er his vest he threw : 
The glittering zone athwart his shoulder cast, 
A starry falchion low-depending graced ; 
Clasp'd on his feet the embroidered sndals shine; 
And forth he moves, majestic and divine : 
Insta.pt to young Telemachus he press'd, 
And thus benevolent his speech addressed: 

" Say, royal youth, sincere of soul report 
What cause hath led you to the Spartan court? 
Do public or domestic cares constrain 
This toilsome voyage o'er the surgy main ?" 

" O highly-favor'd delegate of Jove ! 
(Replies the prince) inflamed with filial love, 
And anxious hope, to hear my parent's doom, 
A suppliant to your royal court I come. 
Our sovereign seat a lewd usurping race 
With lawless riot and misrule disgrace ; 
To pamper'd insolence devoted fall 
Prime of the flock, and choicest of the stall: 
For wild ambition wings their bold desire, 



BOOK I V.I THE ODYSSEY. 57 



And all to mount the imperial bed aspire. 
But prostrate i implore, O king! relate 
The mournful series of my father's fate : 
Each known disaster of the man disclose, 
Born by his mother to a world of woes ! 
Recite them ; nor in erring pity fear 
To wound with storied grief the filial ear: 
If e'er Ulysses, to reclaim yov.r right, 
Avow'd his zeal in council or in fight, 
If Phrygian camps the friendly toils attest, 
To the sire's merit give the son's request." * 
Deep from his inmost soul Atrides sigh'd, 
And thus, indignant, to the prince replied : 
"Heavens ! would a soft, inglorious, dastard train 
An absent hero's nuptial joys profane ! 
So with her young, amid the woodland shades, 
A timorous hind the lion's court invades, 
Leaves in the fatal lair the tender fawns, 
Climbs the green cliff, or feeds the flowery lawns : 
Meantime return'd, with dire remorseless sway, 
The monarch-savage rends the trembling prey. 
With equal fury, and with equal fame, 
Ulysses soon shall re-assert his claim. 
O Jove supreme, whom gods and men revere ! 
And thou ! to whom 'tis given to gild the sphere !f 
With power congenial join'd, propitious aid 
The chief adopted by the martial maid ! 
Such to our wish the warrior soon restore, 
As when contending on the Lesbian shore 
His prowess Philomelides confess'd, 
And loud acclaiming Greeks the victor bless'd : 
Then soon the invaders of his bed and throne 
Their love presumptuous shall with life atone. 
With patient ear, O royal youth, attend 
The storied labors of thy father's friend : 
Fruitful of deeds, the copious tale is long, 
But truth severe shall dictate to my tongue : 
Learn what I heard the sea-born seer relate, 

* The post-Trojan career of Menelaus is well described by Grote, v. i. p. 222 
" Menelaus, on his return from Troy with the recovered Helen, is driven by storms 
far away to the distant regions of Phosnicia and Egypt, and is exposed to a thousand 
dangers and hardships before he again sets foot in Peloponnesus ; but at length he 
reaches Sparta, resumes his kingdom, and passes the rest of his days in uninten upted 
happiness and splendor ; and as he is husband of the godlike Helen, and son-in-law 
of Zeus, he is even spared the pangs of death. When the f uiness of his days is past, 
he is transported to the Elysian fields, there to dwell along with the ' golden-haired 
Rhadamanthus ' in a delicious element and in undisturbed repose." 

t *'. e. Apollo. 



58 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

Whose eye can pierce the dark recess of fate. 

" Long on the Egyptian coast by calms confined, 
Heaven to my fleet refused a prosperous wind ; 
No vows had we preferr'd, nor victim slain ! 
For this the gods each favoring gale restrain: 
Jealous, to see their high behests obey'd ; 
Severe, if men the eternal rights evade. 
High o'er a gulfy sea, the Pharian isle 
Fronts the deep roar of disemboguing Nile : 
Her distance from the shore, the course begun 
At dawn, and ending with the setting sun, 
A galley measures ; when the stiffer gales 
Rise on the poop, and fully stretch the sails. 
There, anchor'd vessel^ safe in harbor lie, 
Whilst limpid springs the failing cask supply. 

" And now the twentieth sun, descending, laves 
His glowing axle in the western waves; 
Still with expanded sails we court in vain 
Propituous winds to waft us o'er the main: 
And the pale mariner at once deplores 
-His drooping vigor and exhausted stores. 
When lo ! a bright cerulean form appears, 
The fair Eidothea, to dispel my fears ; 
Proteus her sire divine. With pity press'd, 
Me sole the daughter of the deep address'd; 
What time, with hunger pined, my absent mates 
Roam the wide isle in search of rural cates, 
Bait the barb'd steel, and from the fishy flood 
Appease the afflictive fierce desire of food." 

" ' Who'er thou art (the azure goddess cries) 
Thy conduct ill deserves the praise of wise 
Is death thy choice, or misery thy boast, 
That here inglorious, on a barren coast, 
Thy brave associates droop, a meagre train, 
With famine pale, and ask thy care in vain ? " 

" Struck with the kind reproach, I straight reply : 
' Whate'er thy title in thy native sky, 
A goddess sure ! for more than mortal grace 
Speaks the descendant of ethereal race : 
Deem not that here of choice my fleet remains; 
Some heavenly power averse my stay constrains : 
O, piteous of my fate, vouchsafe to show 
(For what's sequester'd from celestial view ?) 
What power becalms the innavigable seas ? 
What guilt provokes him, and what vows appease? 1 

" I ceased, when affable the goddess cried : 
' Observe, and in the truths I speak confide : 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. ^ 59 

The oracular seer frequents the Pharian coast, 
From whose high bed my birth divine I boast : 
Proteus, a name tremendous o'er the main, 
The delegate of Neptune's watery reign. 
Watch with insidious care his known abode ; 
There fast in chains restrain the various god; 
Who bound, obedient to superior force, 
Unerring will prescribe your destined course. 
If, studious of your realms, you then demand 
Their state, since last you left your natal land, 
Instant the god obsequious will disclose 
Bright tracts of glory or a cloud of woes.' 

' She ceased ; and suppliant thus I made reply: 
4 O goddess ! on thy aid my hopes rely ; 
Dictate propitious to my duteous ear, 
What arts can captivate the changeful seer; 
For perilous the assay, unheard the toil, 
To elude the prescience of a god by guile.' 

" Thus to the goddess mild my suit I end. 
Then she : ' Obedient to my rule attend : 
When through the zone of heaven the mounted sun 
Hath journeyed half, and half remains to run ; 
The seer, while zephyrs curl the swelling deep, 
Basks on the breezy shore, in grateful sleep, 
His oozy limbs, Emerging from the wave, 
The Phocae swift surround his rocky cave, 
Frequent and full ; the consecrated train 
Of her, whose azure trident awes the main :* 
There wallowing warm, the enormous herd exhales 
An oily steam, and taints the noontide gales. 
To that recess, commodious for surprise, 
When purple light shall next suffuse the skies, 
With me repair : and from thy warrior band 
Three chosen chiefs of dauntless soul command: 
Let their auxiliary force befriend the toil ; 
For strong the god, and perfected in guile. 
Stretch 'd on the shelly shore, he first surveys 
The flouncing herd ascending from the seas; 
Their number sum'Ti'd, reposed in sleep profound 
The scaly charge their guardian god surround: 
So with his battening flocks the careful swain 
Abides pavilion'd on the grassy plain. 
With powers united, obstinately bold. 
Invade him, couch'd amid the scaly fold: 
Instant he wears, elusive of the rape, 

* Of her, \. e. Amphitrite. The whole passage has been wonderfully imitated in 
Virgil's Fourth Georgic. 



60 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK IV. 

The mimic force of every savage shape ; 

Or glides with liquid lapse a murmuring stream, 

Or, wrapp'd in flame, he glows at every limb. 

Yet, still retentive, with redoubled might, 

Through each vain passive form constrain his flight. 

But when, his native shape resumed, he stands 

Patient of conquest, and your cause demands ; 

The cause that urged the bold attempt declare, 

And soothe the vantiuish'd with a victor's prayer. 

The bands relax'd, implore the seer to say 

What godhead interdicts the watery way. 

Who, straight propitious, in prophetic strain 

Will teach you to repass the unmeasured main.' 

She ceased, and bounding from the shelfy shore. 

Round the descending nymph the waves resounding roar. 

" High wrapp'd in wonder of the future deed, 
With joy impetuous to the port 1 speed : 
The wants of nature with repast suffice, 
Till night with grateful shade involved the skies, 
And shed ambrosial clews. Fast by the deep, 
Along the tented shore, in balmv sleep, 
Our cares were lost. When o'er the eastern lawn, 
In saffron robes, the daughter of the dawn 
Advanced her rosy steps, before the bay 
Due ritual honors to the gods I pay ; 
Then seek the place the sea-born nymph assigned, 
With three associates of undaunted mind. 
Arrived, to form along the appointed strand 
For each abed, she scoops the hilly sand : 
Then, from her azure cave the finny spoils 
Of four vast Phocae takes, to veil her wiles : 
Beneath the finny spoils, extended prone, 
Hard toil ! the prophet's piercing eye to shun ; 
New from the corse, the scaly frauds diffuse 
Unsavory stench of oil, and brackish ooze ; 
But the bright sea-maid's gentle power implored. 
With nectar'd drops the sickening sense restored. 

"Thus till the sun had travell'd half the skies, 
Ambush'd we lie, and wait the bold emprise : 
When, thronging quick to bask in open air, 
The flocks of ocean to the strand repair : 
Couch'd on the sunny sand, the monsters sleep: 
Then Proteus, mounting from the hoary deep, 
Surveys his charge, unknowing of deceit 
(In order told, we make the sum complete). 
Pleased with the false review, secure he lies, 
And leaden slumbers press his drooping eyes. 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 6 1 

Rushing impetuous forth, we straight prepare 
A furious onset with the sound of war, 
And shouting seize the god : our force to evade, 
His various arts he soon resumes in aid : 
A lion now, he curls a surgy mane ; 
Sudden our hands a spotted pard restrain ; 
Then, arm'd with tusks, and lightning in his eyes, 
A boar's obscener shape the god belies : 
On spiry volumes, there a dragon rides ; 
Here, from our strict embrace a stream he glides : 
And last, sublime, his stately growth he rears 
A tree, and well-dissembled foliage wears. 
Vain efforts ! with superior power compress'd, 
Me with reluctance thus the seer acldress'd : 
'Say, son of Atreus, say what god inspired 
This daring fraud, and what the boon desired?' 
I thus : ; O thou, whose certain eye foresees 
The fix'd event of fate's remote decrees ; 
After long woes, and various toil endured, 
Still on this desert isle my fleet is moor'd, 
Unfriended of the gales. ' All-knowing, say, 
What godhead interdicts the watery way ? 
What vows repentant will the power appease, 
To speed a prosperous voyage o'er the seas ? ' 

" ' To Jove (with stern regard the god replies) 
And all the offended synod of the sk'es, 
Just hecatombs with due devotion slain, 
Thy guilt absolved, a prosperous voyage gain. 
To the firm sanction of thy fate attend ! 
An exile thou, nor cheering face of friend, 
Nor sight of natal shore, nor regal dome, 
Shalt yet enjoy, but still art doom'd to roam. 
Once more the Nile, who from the secret source 
Of Jove's high seat descends with sweepy force, 
Must view his billows white beneath thy oar, 
And altars blaze along his sanguine shore. 
Then will the gods with holy pomp adored, 
To thy long vows a safe return accord.' 

" He ceased : heart-wounded with afflictive pain, 
(Doom'd to repeat the perils of the main, 
A shelfy track and long) ! ' O seer,' I cry, 
'To the stern sanction of the offended sky 
My prompt obedience bows. But deign to say 
What fate propitious, or what dire dismay, 
Sustain those peers, the relics of our host, 
Whom I with Nestor on the Phrygian coast 
Embracing left ? Must I the warriors weep, 



62 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

Whelm'd in the bottom of the monstrous deep ? 
Or did the kind domestic friend deplore 
The breathless heroes on their native shore? 

" ' Press not too far,' replied the god : ' but cease 
To know what, known, will violate thy peace: 
Too curious of their doom ! with friendly woe 
Thy breast will heave, and tears eternal flow. 
Part live ! the rest, a lamentable train! 
Range the dark bounds of Pluto's dreary reign. 
Two, foremost in the roll of Mars renown'd, 
Whose arms with conquest in thy cause were crown'd, 
Fell by disastrous fate : by tempests toss'd, 
A third lives wretched on a distant coast. 

"By Neptune rescued from Minerva's hate, 
On Gyrae, safe Oi'lean Ajax sate, 
His ship o'erwhelm'd : but, frowning on the floods, 
Impious he roar'd defiance to the gods ; 
To his own prowess all the glory gave : 
The power defrauding who vouchsafed to save. 
This heard the raging ruler of the main; 
His spear, indignant for such high disdain, 
He launched ; dividing with his forky mace 
The aerial summit from the marble base; 
The rock rush'd seaward, with impetuous roar 
Ingulf'd, and to the abyss the boaster bore. 

" By Juno's guardian aid, the watery vast, 
Secure of storms, your royal brother pass'd, 
Till, coasting nigh the cape where Malea shrouds 
Her spiry cliffs amid surrounding clouds, 
A whirling gust tumultuous from the shore 
Across the deep his laboring vessel bore. 
In an ill-fated hour the coast he gain'd, 
Where late in regal pomp Thyestes reign'd ; 
But, when his hoary honors bow'd to fate, 
yEgysthus govern'd in paternal state, 
The surges now subside, the tempest ends ; 
From his tall ship the king of men descends ; 
There fondly thinks the gods conclude his toil ! 
Far from his own domain salutes the soil: 
With rapture oft the verge of Greece reviews, 
And the dear turf with tears of joy bedews. 
Him, thus exulting on the distant strand, 
A spy distinguished from his airy stand : 
To bribe whose vigilance, yEgysthus told 
A mighty sum of ill-persuading gold : 
There watch'd this guardian of his guilty fear, 
Till the twelfth moon had wheel'd her pale career; 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 63 

And now, admonish'd by his eye, to court 
With terror wing'd conveys the dread report. 
Of deathful arts expert, his lord employs 
The ministers of blood in dark surprise ; 
And twenty youths, in radiant mail incased, 
Close ambush 'd nigh the spacious hall he placed. 
Then bids prepare the hospitable treat: 
Vain shows of love to veil his felon hate ! 
To grace the victor's welcome from the wars, 
A train of coursers and triumphal cars 
Magnificent he leads : the royal guest, 
Thoughtless of ill, accepts the fraudful feast. 
The troop forth-issuing from the dark recess. 
With homicidal rage the king oppress ! 
So, whilst he feeds luxurious in the stall, 
The sovereign of the herd is doom'd to fall, 
The partners of his fame and toils at Troy, 
Around their lord, a mighty ruin, lie : 
Mix'd with t'he brave, the base invaders bleed ; 
^Egysthus sole survives to boast the deed." 

" He said : chill horrors shook my shivering soul, 
Rack'd with convulsive pangs in dust I roll; 
And hate, in madness of extreme despair, 
To view the sun, or breathe the vital air. 
But when, superior to the rage of woe, 
I stood restored, and tears had ceased to flow, 
Lenient of grief, the pitying god began : 
' Forget the brother, and resume the man : 
To Fate's supreme dispose the dead resign, 
That care be Fate's, a speedy passage thine. 
Still lives the wretch who wrought the death deplored, 
But lives a victim for thy vengeful sword ; 
Unless with filial rage Orestes glow, 
And swift prevent the meditated blpw : 
You timely will return a welcome guest, 
With him to share the sad funereal feast.' 

" He said: new thoughts my beating heart employ, 
My gloomy soul receives a gleam of joy. 
Fair hope revives ; and eager I address'd 
The prescient godhead to reveal the rest : 
' The doom decreed of those disastrous two 
I've heard with pain, but oh ! the tale pursue ; 
What third brave son of Mars the Fates constrain 
To roam the howling desert of the main ; 
Or, in eternal shade if cold he lies, 
Provoke new sorrows from these grateful eyes.' 

" ' That chief (rejoin'd the god) his race derives 



64 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

From Ithaca, and wondrous woes survives ; 

Laertes' son : girt with circumflubus tides, 

He still calamitous constraint abides. 

Him in Calypso's cave of late I view'd, 

When streaming grief his faded cheek bedew'd. 

But vain his prayer, his arts are vain, to move 

The enamor'd goddess, or elude her love : 

His vessel sunk, and dear companions lost, 

He lives reluctant on a foreign coast. 

But oh, beloved by Heaven ! reserved to thee 

A happier lot the smiling Fates decree : 

Free from that law, beneath whose mortal sway 

Matter is changed, and varying forms decay, 

Elysium shall be thine : the blissful plains 

Of utmost earth, where Rhadamanthus reigns. 

Joys ever young, unmix'd with pain or fear, 

Fill the wide circle of the eternal year: 

Stern winter smiles on that auspicious clime : 

The fields are florid with unfading prime ;' 

From the bleak pole no winds inclement blow, 

Mould the round hail, or flake the fleecy snow; 

But from the breezy deep the blest inhale 

The fragrant murmurs of the western gale. 

This grace peculiar will the gods afford 

To thee, the son of Jove, and beauteous Helen's lord.' 

" He ceased, and plunging in the vast profound, 
Beneath the god the whirling billows bound. 
Then speeding back, involved in various thought, 
My friends attending at the shore I sought. 
Arrived, the rage of hunger we control 
Till night with silent shade invests the pole ; 
Then lose the cares of life in pleasing rest. 
Soon as the morn reveals the roseate east, 
With sails we wing, the masts, our anchors weigh, 
Unmoor the fleet, and rush into the sea. 
Ranged on the banks, beneath our equal oars 
White curl the waves, and the vex'd ocean roars. 
Then, steering backward from the Pharian isle, 
We gain the stream of Jove-descended Nile ; 
There quit the ships, and on the destined shore 
With ritual hecatombs the gods adore : 
Their wrath atoned, to Agamemnon's name 
A cenotaph I raise of deathless fame. 
These rites to piety and grief discharged, 
The friendly gods a springing gale enlarged: 
The fleet swift tilting o'er the su-ges flew, 
Till Grecian cliffs appear'd a blissful view ! 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 



"Thy patient ear hath heard me long relate 
A story, fruitful of disastrous fate. 
And now, young prince, indulge my fond request: 
Be Sparta honored with his royal guest, 
Till, from his eastern goal, the joyous sun 
His twelfth diurnal race begins to run. 
Meantime my train the friendly gifts prepare, 
Three sprightly coursers and a polish'd car : 
With these a goblet of capacious mould, 
Figured with art to dignify the gold 
(Form'd for libation to the gods), shall prove 
A pledge and monument of sacred love." 

" My quick return (young Ithacus rejoin'd), 
Damps the warm wishes of my raptured mind: 
Did not my fate my needful haste constrain, 
Charm'd by your speech so graceful and humane, 
Lost in delight the circling year would roll, 
While deep attention fixed my listening soul, 
But now to Pyle permit.my destined way, 
My loved associates chide my long delay : 
In dear remembrance of your royal grace, 
I take the present of the promised vase ; 
The coursers, for the champaign sports retain; 
That gift our barren rocks will render vain : 
Horrid with cliffs, our meagre land allows 
Thin herbage for the mountain goat to browse, 
But neither mead nor plain supplies, to feed 
The sprightly courser, or indulge his speed: 
To sea-surrounded realms the gods assign 
Small tract of fertile lawn, the least to mine." 

His hand the king with tender passion press'd, 
And, smiling, thus the royal youth address'd : 
41 O early worth ! a soul so wise and young, 
Proclaims you from the sage Ulysses sprung. 
Selected from my stores, of matchless price, 
An urn shall recompense your prudent choice: 
Not mean the massy mould of silver, graced 
By Vulcan's art, the' verge with gold enchased. 
A pledge the sceptred power of Sidon gave, 
When to his realm I plough'd the orient wave." 

Thus they alternate ; white, with artful care, 
The menial train the regal feast prepare. 
The firstlings of the flock are doom'd to die : 
Rich fragrant wines the cheering bowl supply; 
A female band the gift of Ceres bring; 
And the gilt roofs with genial triumph ring. 

Meanwhile, in Ithaca, the suitor-powers 

5 



66 THE ODYSSEY. [Boox IV. 

In active games divide their jovial hours : 
In areas varied with mosaic art, 
Some whirl the disk, and some the javelin dart, 
Aside, sequester'd from the vast resort, 
'Antinous sate spectator of the sport ; 
With great Eurymachus, of worth confess'd, 
And high descent, superior to the rest ; 
Whom young Noe'mon lowly thus addressed : 

'' My ship, equipp'd within the neighboring port, 
The prince, departing for the Pylian court, 
Requested for his speed ; but, courteous, say 
When steers he home, or why this long delay ? 
For Elis I should sail with utmost speed, 
To import twelve mares which there luxurious feed, 
And twelve young mules, a strong laborious race, 
New to the plough, unpractised in the trace." 

Unknowing of the course to Pyle design'd, 
A sudden horror seized on either mind : 
The prince in rural bower they fondly thought, 
Numbering his flocks and herds, not far remote. 
" Relate (Antinoiis cries), devoid of guile, 
When spread the prince his sail for distant Pyle? 
Did chosen chiefs across the gulfy main 
Attend his voyage, or domestic train ? 
Spontaneous did you speed his secret course, 
Or was the vessel seized by fraud or force ? " 

" With willing duty, not reluctant mind 
(Noe'men cried), the vessel was resign'd.' 
Who, in the balance, with the great affairs 
Of courts, presume to weigh their private cares ? 
With him, the peerage next in power to you : 
And Mentor, captain of the lordly crew, 
Or some celestial in his reverend form, 
Safe from the secret rock and adverse storm, 
Pilots the course; for when the glimmering ray 
Of yester dawn disclosed the tender day, 
Mentor himself I saw, and much admired." 
Then ceased the youth, and from the court retired. 

Confounded and appall'd, the unfinish'd game 
The suitors quit, and all to council came. 
Antinoiis first the assembled peers address'd, 
Rage sparkling in his eye, and burning in his breast: 

"O shame to manhood ! shall one daring boy 
The scheme of all our happiness destroy ? 
Fly unperceived, seducing half the flower 
Of nobles, and invite a foreign power ? 
The ponderous engine raised to crush us all, 



BOOK IV. j THE ODYSSEY. 67 

Recoiling, on his head is sure to fall. 
Instant prepare me, on the neighboring strand, 
With twenty chosen mates a vessel mann'd ; 
For ambush'd close beneath the Samian shore 
His ship returning shall my spies explore ; 
He soon his rashness shall with life atone, 
Seek for his father's fate, but find his own." 

With vast applause the sentence all approve; 
Then rise, and to the feastful hall remove ; 
Swift to the queen the herald Medon ran, 
Who heard the consult of the dire divan : 
Before her dome the royal matron stands, 
And thus the message of his haste demands : 

' What will the suitors ? must my servant-train 
The allotted labors of the day refrain, 
For them to form some exquisite repast ? 
Heaven grant this festival may prove their last! 
Or, if they still must live, from me remove 
The double plague of luxury and love ! 
Forbear, ye sons of insolence ! forbear, 
In riot to consume a wretched heir. 
In the young soul illustrious thought to raise, 
Were ye not tutor'd with Ulysses' praise ? 
Have not your fathers oft my lord defined, 
Gentle of speech, beneficent of mind ? 
Some kings with arbitrary rage devour, 
Or in their tyrant-minions vest the power: 
Ulysses let no partial favors fall, 
The people's parent, he protected all ; 
But absent now, perfidious and ingrate ! 
His stores ye ravage, and usurp his state." 

He thus : " O'were the woes you speak the worst! 
They form a deed more odious and accursed ; 
More dreadful than your boding soul divines: 
But pitying Jove avert the dire designs ! 
The darling object of your royal care 
Is marked to perish in a deathful snare ; 
Before he anchors in h s native pert, 
From Pyle re-sailing and the Spartan court; 
Horrid to speak ! in ambush is decreed 
The hope and heir of Ithaca to bleed ! " 

Sadden she sunk beneath the weighty woes, 
The vital streams a chilling horror froze ; 
The big round tear stands trembling in her eye, 
And on her tongue imperfect accents die. 
At length, in tender language interwove 
With sighs, she thus express'd her anxious love : 



68 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

" Why rashly would my son his fate explore, 
Ride the wild waves, and quit the safer shore? 
Did he, with all the greatly wretched, crave 
A blank oblivion, and untimely grave ?" 

<l 'Tis not ^replied the sage) 10 Medon given 
To know, if some inhabitant of heaven 
In his young breast the daring thought inspired ; 
Or if, alone with filial duty fired, 
The winds and waves he tempts in early bloom, 
Studious to learn his absent father's doom." 

The sage retired : unable to control 
The mighty griefs that swell her laboring soul, 
Rolling convulsive on the floor is seen 
The piteous object of a prostrate queen. 
Words to her dumb complaint a pause supplies, 
And breath, to waste in unavailing cries. 
Around their sovereign wept the menial fair, 
To whom she thus address'd her deep despair: 

" Behold a wretch whom all the gods consign 
To woe ! Did ever sorrows equal mine ? 
Long to my joys my dearest lord is lost. 
His country's buckler, and the Grecian boast : 
Now from my fond embrace, by tempests torn, 
Our other column of the state is borne : 
Nor took a kind adieu, nor sought consent! 
Unkind confederates in his dire intent ! 
Ill suits it with your shows of duteous zeal, 
From me the purposed voyage to conceal : 
Though at the solemn midnight hour he rose, 
Why did you fear to trouble my repose ? 
He either had obey'd my fond desire, 
Or seen his mother pierced with grief expire. 
Bid Dolius quick attend, the faithful slave 
Whom to my nuptial train Icarius gave, 
To tend the fruit-groves : with incessant speed 
He shall this violence of death decreed 
To good Laertes tell. Experienced age 
May timely intercept the ruffian rage. 
Convene the tribes, the murderous plot reveal, 
And to their power to save his race appeal." 

Then Euryclea thus: "My dearest dread; 
Though to the sword I bow this hoary head, 
Or if a dungeon be the pain decreed, 
I own me conscious of the unpleasing deed : 
Auxiliar to his flight, my aid implored, 
With wine and viands I the vessel stored ; 
A solemn oath, imposed, the secret seal'd, 



BOOK IV.] THE ODYSSEY. 69 

Till the twelfth dawn the light of heaven reveal'd. 

Dreading the effect of a fond mother's fear, 

He dare not violate your royal ear. 

But bathe, and, in imperial robes array'd, 

Pay due devotions to the martial maid,* 

And rest affianced in her guardian aid. 

Send not to good Laertes, nor engage 

In toils of state the miseries of age : 

'Tis impious to surmise the powers divine 

To ruin doom the Jove-descended line : 

Long shall the race of just Arcesius reign, 

And isles remote enlarge his old domain." 

The queen her speech with calm attention hears, 
Her eyes restrain the silver-streaming tears : 
She bathes, and robed, the sacred dome ascends ; 
Her pious speed a fe male train attends : 
The salted cakes in canisters are laid, 
And thus the queen invokes Minerva's aid: 

" Daughter divine of Jove, whose arm can wield 
The avenging bolt, and shake the dreadful shield ! 
If e'er Ulysses to thy fane preferr'd 
The best and choicest of his flock and herd ; 
Hear, goddess, hear, by those oblations won ; 
And for the pious sire preserve the son : 
His wish'd return with happy power befriend, 
And on the suitors let thy wrath descend." 

She ceased ; shrill ecstacies of joy declare 
The favoring goddess present to the prayer : 
The suitors heard, and deem'd the mirthful voice 
A signal of her hymeneal choice : 
While one most jovial thus accosts the board : 

" Too late the queen selects a second lord ; 
In evil hour the nuptial rite intends, 
When o'er her son disastrous death impends." 
Thus he, unskill'd of what the fates provide ! 
But with severe rebuke Antinoiis cried : 

" These empty vaunts will make the voyage vain : 
Alarm not with discourse the menial train : 
The great event with silent hope attend ; 
Our deeds alone our counsel must commend." 
His speech thus ended short, he frowning rose, 
And twenty chiefs renown'd for valor chose : 
Down to the strand he speeds with haughty strides, 
Where anchor'd in the bay the vessel rides, 
Replete with mail and military store, 



70 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IV. 

In all her tackle trim to quit the shore. 
The desperate crew ascend, unfurl the sails 
(The seaward prow invites the tardy gales) : 
Then take repast, till Hesperus display'd 
His golden circlet in the western shade. 

Meantime the queen, without reflection due, 
Heart-wounded, to the bed of state withdrew : 
In her sad breast the prince's fortunes roll, 
And hope and doubt alternate seize her soul. 
So when the woodman's toil her cave surrounds, 
And with the hunter's cry the grove resounds, 
Witli grief and rage the mother-lion stung, 
Fearless herself, yet trembles for her young, 
While pensive in the silent slumberous shade, 
Sleep's gentle powers her drooping eyes invade ; 
Minerva, life-like, on embodied air 
Impress'd the form of Iphthimathe fair: 
(Icarius' daughter she, whose blooming charms 
Allured Eumelus to her virgin arms ; 
A sceptered lord, who o'er the fruitful plain 
Of Thessaly wide stretch'd his ample reign:) 
As Pallas will'd, along the sable skies, 
To calm the queen, the phantom-sister^flies. 
Swift on the regal dome, descending right, 
The bolted valves are pervious to her flight. 
Close to her head the pleasing vision stands, 
And thus performs Minerva's high commands : 

" O why, Penelope, this causeless fear, 
To render sleep's soft blessing unsincere? 
Alike devote to sorrow's dire extreme 
The day-reflection, and the midnight-dream ! 
Thy son the gods propitious will restore, 
And bid thee cease his absence to deplore." 

To whom the queen (whilst yet her pensive mind 
Was in the silent gates of sleep confined :) 
" O sister, to my soul forever dear. 
Why this first visit to reprove my fear ? 
How in a realm so distant should you know 
From what deep source my ceaseless sorrows flow ? 
To all my hope my royal lord is lost, 
His country's buckler, and the Grecian boast ; 
And, with consummate woe to weigh me down, 
The heir of all his honors and his crown, 
My darling son is fled ! an easy prey 
To the fierce storms, or men more fierce than they ; 
Who, in a league of blood associates sworn, 
Will intercept the unwary youth's return." 



BOOK IV.] TH ODYSSEY. 71 

" Courage resume (the shadowy form replied) ; 
In the protecting care of Heaven confide; 
On him attends the blue-eyed martial maid : 
What earthly can implore a surer aid ? 
Me now the'guardian goddess deigns to send, 
To bid thee patient his return attend.'' 

The queen replies .- -'If in the blest abodes, 
A goddess, thou hast commerce with the gods; 
Say, breathes my lord the blissful realm of light, 
Or lies he wrapp'd in ever-during night ? " 

" Inquire not of his doom (the phantom cries), 
I speak not all the counsel of the skies : 
Nor must indulge with vain discourse, or long, 
The windy satisfaction of the tongue." 

Swift through the valves the visionary fair 
Repass'd, and viewless mix'd with common air. 
The queen awakes, deliver'd of her woes ; 
With florid joy her heart dilating glows : 
The vision, manifest of future fate, 
Makes her with hope her son's arrival wait. 

Meantime the suitors plough the watery plain, 
Telemachus in thought already slain! 
When sight of lessening Ithaca was lost, 
Their sail directed for the Samian coast. 
A small but verdant isle appear'd in view, 
And Asteris the advancing pilot knew: 
An ample port the rocks projected form, 
To break the rolling waves and ruffling storm : 
That safe recess they gain with happy speed, 
And in close ambush wait the murderous deed. 



72 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK V. 



BOOK V. 

ARGUMENT. 

THR DKPARTURK OF ULYSSBS FROM CALYPSO. 

las in a council of the gods complains of the detention of Ulysses in the island of 
Calypso : whereupon Mercury is sent to command his removal. The seat of 
Calypso described. She consents with much difficulty ; and Ulysses builds a 
vessel with his own hands, in which he embarks. Neptune overtakes him with a 
terrible tempest, in which he is shipwrecked, and in the last danger of death ; till 
Leucothea, a sea-goddess, assists him, and, after innumerable perils, he gets 
ashore on Ph<eacia. 

THE saffron morn, with early blushes spread, 
Now rose refulgent from Tithonus' bed; 
With new-born day to gladden mortal sight, 
And gild the courts of heaven with sacred light. 
Then met the eternal synod of the sky, 
Before the god, who thunders from on high, 
Supreme in might, sublime in majesty. 
Pallas, to these, deplores the unequal fates 
Of wise Ulysses, and his toils relates : 
Her hero's danger touch'd the pitying power, 
The nymph's seduce ments, and the magic bower. 
Thus she began her plaint : " Immortal Jove ! 
And you who fill the blissful seats above ! 
Let kings no more with gentle mercy sway, 
Or bless a people willing to obey, 

But crush the nations with an iron rod, 

And every monarch be the scourge of God, 

If from vour thoughts Ulysses you remove, 

Who ruled his subjects w'ith a father's love. 

Sole in an isle, encircled by the main, 

Abandon'd, banish'd from his native reign, 

Unbless'd he sighs, detained by lawless charms, 

And press'd unwilling in Calypso's arms. 

Nor friends are there, nor vessels to convey, 

Nor oars to cut the immeasurable way. 

And now fierce traitors, studious to destroy 

His only son, their ambush'd fraud employ; 

Who, pious, following his great father's fame, 

To sacred Pylos and to Sparta came." 



BOOK V.I THE ODYSSEY. 73 

" What words are these ? (replied the power who forms 
The clouds of night, and darkens heaven with storms ;) 
Is not already in'thy soul decreed, 
The chief's return shall make the guilty bleed? 
What c^inot Wisdom do ? Thou may'st restore 
The son in safety to his native shore ; 
While the fell foes, who late in ambush lay, 
With fraud defeated measure back their way." 

Then thus to Hermes the command was given : 
" Hermes, thou chosen messenger of heaven ! 
Go, to the nymph be these our orders borne : 
'Tis Jove's decree, Ulysses shall return : 
The patient man shall view his old abodes, 
Nor helped by mortal hand, nor guiding gods : 
In twice ten days shall fertile Scheria find,* 
Alone, and floating to the wave and wind. 
The bold Phaeacians there, whose haughty line 
Is mix'd with gods, half human, half divine, 
The chief shall honor as some heavenly guest, 
And swift transport him to his place of rest. 
His vessels loaded with a plenteous store 
Of brass, of vestures, and resplendent ore 
(A richer prize than if his joyful isle 
Receiv'd him charged with llion's noble spoil), 
Hi friends, his country, he shall see, though late : 
Such is our sovereign will, and such is fate." 

He spoke. The god who mounts the winged winds t 
Fast to his feet the golden pinions hinds, 
That high through fields of air his flight sustain 
O'er the wide earth, and o'er the boundless mam : 
He grasps the wand that causes sleep to fly, 
Or in soft slumber seals the wakeful eye ; 
Then shoots from heaven to high Pieria's steep, 
And stoops incumbent on the rolling deep. 
So watery fowl, that seek their fishy food, 
With wings expanded o'er the foaming flood, 
Now sailing smooth the level surface sweep, 
Now dip their pinions in the briny deep; 
Thus o'er the world of waters Hermes flew, 
Till now the distant island rose in view : 



* Scheria, the ancient name of Corcyra. 

^ The god who mounts. "There are considerable differences of statement in 
the two poems in reeard to some of the pods : Iris is messenger of the pods in the 
Iliad, and Hermes in the Odyssey : ./Eolus. the dispenser of the winds in the Odyssey, 
is not noticed in the twenty-third book of the Iliad, but, on the contrary, Iris invites 
the winds as independent pods to come and kindle the funeral pile of Patroclus : and 
anless we are to expunge the snng of Demodocus, in the eighth book of the Odyssey, 
as spurious, Aphrodite there appears as the wife of Hephoestus, a relationship not 
known to the Iliad."-Mure. 



74 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK V. 

Then, swift ascending from the azure wave, 

He took the path that winded to the cave. 

Large was the grot, in which the nymph he found 

(The fair-hair'd nymph with every beauty crown'd). 

She sate and sung ; the rocks resound her lays, 

The cave was brighten'd with a rising blaze ; 

Cedar and frankincense, an odorous pile, 

Flamed on the hearth, and wide perfumed the isle ; 

While she with work and song the time divides, 

And through the loom the golden shuttle guides.* 

Without the grot a various sylvan scene 

Appear'd around, and groves of living green ; 

Poplars and alders ever quivering play'd, 

And nodding cypress form'd a fragrant shade ; 

On whose high branches, waving with the storm, 

The birds of broadest wing their mansions form, 

The chough, the sea-mew, the loquacious crow, 

And scream aloft, and skim the deeps below. 

Depending vines the shelving cavern screen, 

With purple clusters blushing through the green. 

Four limpid fountains from the clefts distil ; 

And every fountain pours a several rill, 

In mazy windings wandering down the hill : 

Where bloomy meads with vivid greens were crown'd, 

And glowing violets threw odors round, 

A scene, where, if a god should cast his sight, 

A god might gaze, and wander with delight! 

Joy touch'd the messenger of heaven : he stay'd 

Entranced, and all the blissful haunts survey'd. 

Him, entering in the cave. Calypso knew ; 

For powers celestial to each other's view 

Stand still confess'd, though distant far they lie 

To habitants of earth, or sea, or sky. 

But sad Ulysses, by himself apart. 

Pour'd the big sorrows of his swelling heart ; 

All on the lonely shore he sate to weep, 

And roll'd his eyes around the restless deep ; 

Toward his loved coast he rolled his eyes in vain, 

Till, dimm'd with rising grief, they stream'd again. 

Now graceful seated on her shining throne, 
To Hermes thus the nymph divine begun : 

" God of the golden wand ! on whaf behest 
Arrivest thou here, an unexpected guest ? 
Loved as thou art, thy free injunctions lay ; 

* Tht original expresses the idea of " moving backwards and forwards.' 1 The 
ancients stood while weaving. 



BOOK V.] THE ODYSSEY. 75 

'Tis mine with joy and duty to obey. 
Till now a stranger, in a happy hour 
Approach, and taste the dainties of my bower." 

Thus having spoke, the nymph the table spread 
(Ambrosial cates, the nectar rosy-red) ; 
Hermes the hospitable rite partook, 
Divine refection ! then, recruited, spoke : 

' What moves this journey from my native sky, 
A goddess asks, nor can a god deny. 
Hear then the truth. By mightv Jove's command 
Unwilling have I trod this pleasing land ; 
For who. self-moved, with weary wing would sweep 
Such length of ocean and unmeasured deep : 
A world of waters ! far from all the ways 
Where men frequent, or sacred altars blaze ! 
But to Jove's will submission we must pay ; 
What power so great to dare to disobey ? 
A man, he says, a man resides with thee, 
Of all his kind most worn with misery. 
The Greeks (whose arms for nine long years employ'd 
Their force on Ilion, in the tenth destroy'd,) 
At length, embarking in a luckless hour. 
With conquest proud, incensed ^linerva's power: 
Hence on the guilty race her vengeance hurl'd, 
With storms pursued them through the liquid world. 
There all his vessels sunk beneath the wave ! 
There all his dear companions found their grave ! 
Saved from the jaws of death by Heaven's decree, 
The tempest drove him to these shores, and thee. 
Him, Jove now orders to his native lands 
Straight .to dismiss : so destiny commands : 
Impatient Fate his near return attends, 
And calls him to his country, and his friends.". 

E'en to her inmost soul the goddess shook; 
Then thus her anguish and her passion broke : 
" Ungracious gods ! with spite and envy cursed I 
Still to your own ethereal race the worst! 
Ye envy mortal and immortal joy, 
And love, the only sweet of life, destroy. 
Did ever goddess by her charms engage 
A favor'd mortal, and not feel your rage ? 
So when Aurora sought Orion's love, 
Her joys disturbed your blissful hours above, 
Till, in Ortygia, Dian's winged dart 
Had pierced the hapless hunter to the heart. 
So when the covert of the thrice-ear'd field 
Saw stately Ceres to her passion yield, 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK V. 



Scarce could lasion taste her heavenly charms,* 

But Jove's swift lightning scorch'd him in her arms. 

And it is now my turn, ye mighty powers ! 

Am I the envy of your blissful bowers ? 

A man, an outcast to the storm and wave, 

It was my crime to pity, and to save ; 

When he who thunders rent his bark in twain, 

And sunk his brave companions in the main, 

Alone, abandon'd, in mid ocean toss'd, 

The sport of winds, and driven from every coast, 

Hither this man of miseries I led, 

Received the friendless, and the hungry fed ; 

Nay promised (vainly promised) to bestow 

Immortal life, exempt from age and woe. 

'Tis past and Jove decrees he shall remove ; 

Gods as we are, we are but slaves to Jove. 

Go-then he may (he must, if he ordain, 

Try all those dangers, all those deeps, again) ; 

But never, never shall Calypso send 

To toils like these her husband and her friend. 

What ships have I, what sailors to convey, 

What oars to cut the long laborious way ? 

Yet I'll direct the safest means to go : 

That last advice is all I can bestow." 

To her the power who bears the charming rod: 
" Dismiss the man, nor irritate the god; 
Prevent the rage of him who reigns above, 
For what so dreadful as the wrath of Jove ?" 
Thus having said, he cut the cleaving sky, 
And in a moment vanish'd from her eye. 
The nymph, obedient to divine command, 
To seek Ulysses, paced along the sand. 
Him pensive on the lonely beach she found, 
With streaming eyes in briny torrents drown'd, 
And inly pining for his native shore ; 
For now the soft enchantress pleased no more : 
For now, reluctant, and constrain'd by charms, 
Absent he lay in her desiring arms, 
In slumber wore the heavy night away, 
On rocks and shores consumed the tedious day; 
There sate all desolate, and sighed alone, 



* Jan.s was the son of Jupiter and Electra, one of the Atlantidcs, and married 
the goddess Cybele or Certs. All the gods were present at the celebration of the 
nuptials. He was slain by Jupiter, probably from the jealousy entertained against 
his union with that goddess, I may observe, en passant, that the main imitation of 
this poem, in Fe'ne'lou's beautiful romance of " Telemachus," commences with this 
book. 



BOOK V.] THE ODYSSEY. 77 

With echoing sorrows made the mountains groan. 
And roll'd his eyes o'er all the restless main, 
Till, dimm'd with rising grief, they stream'd again. 

Here, on his musing mood the goddess press'd, 
Approaching soft, and thus the chief address'd : 
" Unhappy man ! to wasting woes a prey, 
No more in sorrows languish life away : 
Free as the winds I give thee now to rove : 
Go, fell the timber of yon lofty grove, 
And form a raft, and build the rising ship, 
Sublime to bear thee o'er the gloomy deep. 
To store the vessel let the care be mine, 
With water from the rock and rosy wine, 
And life-sustaining bread, and fair array, 
And prosperous gales to waft thee on the way. 
These, if the gods with my desire comply 
(The gods, alas, more mighty far than I, 
And better skill'd in dark events to come), 
In peace shall land thee at thy native home." 

With sighs Ulysses heard the words she spoke,* 
Then thus his melancholy silence broke : 
" Some other motive, goddess ! sways thy mind 
(Some close design, or turn of womankind), 
Nor my return the end, nor this the way, 
On a slight raft to pass the swelling sea, 
Huge, horrid, vast ! where scarce in safety sails 
The best-built ship, though Jove inspires the gales. 
The bold proposal how shall I fulfil, 
Dark as I am. unconscious of thy will ? 
Swear, then, thou mean'st not what my soul forebodes; 
Swear by the solemn oath that binds the gods." 

Him, while he spoke, with smiles Calypso eyed, 
And gently grasp'd his hand, and thus replied : 
" This shows thee. friend, by old experience taught, 
And learn 'd in all the wiles of human thought. 

* " The character of Ulysses is. in itself, the perfect idea of an accomplished man 
of the world after the manner of the ancient P.Kjanism : and like all ideas, in the 
original and true sense of the word, it not only fills and satisfies, but also gives a vital, 
.energetic, realizing power to the mind that completely apprehends it. Let a person, after 
having read the Iliad and the Odyssey, reflect for a while on the totally different im- 
pressions made on his imagination by the two names of Achilles and Ulysses, and I 
believe he will fully conceive the meaning and the verity of the distinction which I 
have here ventured to introduce. Not one of the characters in the Iliad, with, per- 
haps, the exceDtion of Hector, satisfies the mind in and by itself ; every one of them 
is regarded collaterally with, or in contrast to, another of them, and the pleasure we 
receive is the mixed result of the action of all ; but Ulysses, in the Odyssey, shines 
by his own light, moves bv his own strength, and demolishes all obstacles by his own 
arm, and his own wit. He receives no lustre from mere contrast; we admjre his 
force, not his success ; his battle, not victory ; his heroism, and not his triumfh 
alone ; we refer others to him, but himself to no other." Coleridge. 



78 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK V. 

How prone to doubt, how cautious, are the wise ! 

But hear, O earth, and hear, ye sacred skies ! 

And thou, O Styx ! whose formidable floods 

Glide through the shades, and bind the attesting gods ! 

No form'd design, no meditated end, 

Lurks in the counsel of thy faithful friend ; 

Kind the persuasion, and sincere my aim ; 

The same my practice, were my fate the same. 

Heaven has not cursed me with a heart of steel, 

But given the sense to pity, and to feel." 

Thus having said, the goddess marched before: 
He trod her footsteps in the sandy shore. 
At the cool cave arrived, they took their state ; 
He filled the throne where Mercury had sate. 
For him the nymph a rich repast ordains, 
Such as the mortal life of man sustains ; 
Before herself were placed the cates divine, 

mbrofsial banquet and celestial wine. 
Their hunger satiate, and their thirst repress'd, 
Thus spoke Calypso to her godlike guest : 

" Ulysses ! (with a sigh she thus began ;) 
O sprung from gods ! in wisdom more than man ! 
Is then thy home the passion of thy heart ? 
Thus wilt thou leave me, are we thus to part? 
Farewell ! and ever joyful mayst thou be, 
Nor break the transport with one thought of me. 
But ah, Ulysses ! wert thou given to know 
What Fate yet dooms thee still to undergo, 
Thy heart might settle in this scene of ease, 
And e'en these slighted charms might learn to please. 
A willing goddess, and immortal life, 
Might banish from thy mind an absent wife. 
Am I inferior to a mortal dame ? 
Less soft my feature, less august my frame ? 
Or shall the' daughters of mankind compare 
Their earth-born beauties with the heavenly fair? 11 

" Alas ! for this (the prudent man replies) 
Against Ulysses shall thy anger rise ? 
Loved and adored, O goddess as thou art, 
Forgive the weakness of a human heart. 
Though well I see thy graces far above 
The dear, though mortal, object of my love, 
Of youth eternal well the difference know, 
And the short date of fading charms below ; 
Yet every day, while absent thus I roam, 
I languish to return and die at home. 
Whate'er the gods shall destine me to bear, 



BOOK V.] THE ODYSSEY. 79 

In the black ocean or the watery war, 
'Tis mine to master with a constant mind 
Inured to perils, to the worst resign'd. 
By seas,- by wars, so many dangers run ; 
Still I can suffer : their high will be done !" 

Thus while he spoke, the beamy sun descends, 
And rising night her friendly shade extends 
To the close grot the lonely pair remove, 
And slept delighted with the gifts of love. 
When rosy morning call'd them from their rest, 
Ulysses robed him in the cloak and vest. 
The nymph's fair head a veil transparent graced, 
Her swelling loins a radiant zone embraced 
With flowers of gold : an under robe, unbound, 
In snowy waves flow'd glittering on the ground. 
Forth issuing thus, she gave him first to wield 
A weighty axe, with truest temper steeled, 
And double-edged ; the handle smooth and plain, 
Wrought of the clouded olive's easy grain ; 
And next, a wedge to drive with sweepy sway : 
Then to the neighboring forest led the way. 
On the lone island's utmost verge there stood 
Of poplars, pine, and firs, a lofty wood, 
Whose leafless summits to the skies aspire, 
Scorch'd by the sun, or seared by heavenly fire 
(Already dried). These pointing out to view, 
The nymph just show'd him, and with tears withdrew. 

Now toils the hero : trees on trees o'erthrown 
Fall crackling round him, and the forests groan : 
Sudden, full twenty on the plain are strow'd, 
And lopp'd and lighten'd of their branchy load. 
At equal angles these disposed to join, 
He smooth 'd and squared them by the rule and line, 
(The wimbles for the work Calypso found) 
With those he pierced them and with clinchers bound. 
Long and capacious as a shipwright forms 
Some bark's broad bottom to out-ride the storms, 
So large he built the raft ; then ribb'd it strong 
From space to space, and nail'd the planks along ; 
These form'd the sides : the deck he fashion'd last ; 
Then o'er the vessel raised the taper mast, 
With crossing sail-yards dancing in the wind; 
And to the helm the guiding rudder join'd 
(With yielding osiers fenced, to* break the force 
Of surging waves, and steer the steady course). 
Thy loom. Calypso, for the future sails 
Supplied the cloth, capacious of the gales. 



8o THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK V. 

With stays and cordage last he rigged the ship, 
And, roll'd on levers, launch'd her in the deep. 

Four days were pass'd, and now the work complete, 
Shone the fifth morn, when from her sacred seat 
The nymph dismiss'd him (odorous garments given), 
And bathed in fragrant oils that breathed of heaven : 
Then fill'd two goatskins with her hands divine, 
With water one, and one with sable wine : 
Of every kind, provisions heaved aboard ; 
And the full decks with copious viands stored. 
The goddess, last, a gentle breeze supplies, 
To curl old Ocean, and to warm the skies. 

And now rejoicing in the prosperous gales, 
With beating heart Ulysses spreads his sails : 
Placed at the helm he sate, and mark'd the skies, 
Nor closed in sleep his ever-watchful eyes. 
There view'd the Pleiads, and the Northern Team, 
And great Orion's more refulgent beam, 
To which, around the axle of the sky, 
The Bear, revolving, points his golden eye : 
Who shines exalted on the ethereal plain, 
Nor bathes his blazing forehead in the main. 
Far on the left those radiant fires to keep 
The nymph directed, as he sail'd the deep. 
Full seventeen nights he cut the foaming way : 
The distant land appear'd the following day : 
Then swell'd to sight Phaeacia's dusky coast, 
And woody mountains, half in vapors lost ; 
That lay before him indistinct and vast, 
Like a broad shield amid the watery waste. 

But him, thus voyaging the deeps below, 
From far, on Solym^'s aerial brow,* 
The king of ocean saw, and seeing burn'd 
(From .-Ethiopia's happy climes return'd) ; 
The raging monarch shook his azure head, 
And thus in secret to his soul he said : 
" Heavens ! how uncertain are the powers on high ! 
Is then reversed the sentence of the sky, 
In one man's favor ; while a distant guest 
I shared secure the /Ethiopian feast ? 
Behold how near Phagacia's land he draws ; 
The land affix'd by Fate's eternal laws 
To end his toils. Is then our anger vain ? 
No ; if this sceptre ye't commands the main." 

He spoke, and high the forky trident hurl'd, 
Rolls clouds on clouds, and stirs the watery world, 

* Solymd, in Lycia. 



BOOK V.] THE ODYSSEY. tl 

At once the face of earth and sea deforms, 
Swells all the winds, and rouses all the storms. 
Down rush'd the night : east, west, together roar ; 
And south and north roll mountains to the shore. 
Then shook the hero, to despair resign'd, 
And question'd thus his yet unconquer'd mind : 

" Wretch that I am ! what farther fates attend 
This life of toils, and what my destined end : 
Too well, alas ! the island goddess knew 
On the black sea what perils should ensue. 
New horrors now this destined head enclose ; 
Unfill'd is yet the measure of my woes ; 
With what a cloud the brows of heaven are crown'd! 
What raging winds ! what roaring waters round ! 
'Tis Jove himself the swelling tempest rears ; 
Death, present death, on every side appears. 
Happy ! thrice happy ! who, in battle slain, 
Press'd, in Atrides' cause, the Trojan plain ! 
Oh ! had I died before that well-fought wall ! 
Had some distinguish^ day renown'd my fall 
(Such as was that when showers of javelins fled 
From conquering Troy around Achilles dead) ; 
All Greece had paid me solemn funerals then, 
And spread my glory with the sons of men. 
A shameful fate now hides my hapless head, 
Unwept, unnoted, and forever dead!" 

A mighty wave rush'd o'er him as he spoke, 
The raft it cover'd, and the mast it broke ; 
Swept from the deck, and from the rudder torn, 
Far on the swelling surge the chief was borne ; 
While by the howling tempest rent in twain 
Flew sail and sail-yards rattling o'er the main, 
Long-press'd, he heaved beneath the weighty wave, 
Clogg'd by the cumbrous vest Calypso gave : 
At length, emerging, from his nostrils wide 
And gushing mouth effused the briny tide ; 
E'en then not mindless of his last retreat, 
He seized the raft, and leap'd into his seat, 
Strong with the fear of death. The rolling flood, 
Now here, now there, impell'd the floating wood. 
As when a heap of gather'd thorns is cast, 
Now to, now fro, before the autumnal blast ; 
Together clung, it rolls around the field ; 
So roll'd the float, and so its texture held : 
And now the south, and now the north, bear sway, 
And now the east the foamy floods obey, 
And now the west wind whirls it o'er the sea. 



82 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK V. 

The wandering chief with toils on toils oppress'd, 

Leucothea saw, and-prty touch'd her breast. * 

(Herself a mortal once, of Cadmus' strain, 

But now an azure sister of the main.) 

Swift as a sea-mew springing from the flood, 

All radiant on the raft the goddess stood : 

Then thus address'd him : " Thou whom heaven decrees 

To Neptune's wrath, stern tyrant of the seas ! 

(Unequal contest) ! not his rage and power, 

Great as he is, such virtue shall devour. 

What I suggest, thy wisdom will perform : 

Forsake thy float, and leave it to the storm ; 

Strip off thy garments ; Neptune's fury brave 

With naked strength, and plunge into the wave. 

To reach Phaeacia all thy nerves extend, 

There Fate decrees thy miseries shall end. 

This heavenly scarf beneath thy bosom bind, 
And live ; give all thy terrors to the wind. 
Soon as thy arms the happy shore shall gain, 

Return the gift, and cast it in the main : 

Observe my orders, and with heed obey, 
Cast it far off, and turn thy eyes away." 

With that, her hand the sacred veil bestows, 
Then down the deeps she dived from whence she rose ; 
A moment snatch'd the shining form away, 
And all was covered with the curling sea. 

Struck with amaze, yet still to doubt inclined, 
He stands suspended, and explores his mind : 
" What shall 1 do ? unhappy me ! who knows 
But others gods intend me other woes ? 
Whoe'er thou art, I shall not blindly join 
Thy pleaded reason, but consult with mine : 
For scarce in ken appears that distant isle 
Thy voice foretells me shall conclude my toil. 
Thus then I judge : while yet the planks sustain 
The wild waves' fury, here I fix'd remain ; 
But, when their texture to the tempest yields, 
I launch adventurous on the liquid fields, 
Join to the help of gods the strength of man, 
And take this method, since the best I can." 

While thus his thoughts an anxious council hold, 
The raging god a watery mountain roll'd ; 
Like a black sheet the whelming billows spread, 
Burst o'er the float, and thunder'd on his head. 
Planks, beams, disparted fly ; the scatter'd wood 

* Leucothea, called Matula by the Romans, was the wife of Athamas, changed 
into a marine deity. 



BOOK V.] THE ODYSSEY. 83 

Rolls diverse, and in fragments' strews the flood. 

So the rude Boreas, o'er the field new-shorn, 

Tosses and drives the scalter'd heaps of corn. 

And now a single beam the chief bestrides : 

There poised a while above the bounding tides, 

His limbs discumbers of the clinging vest, 

And binds the sacred cincture round his breast : 

Then prone on ocean in a moment flung, 

Stretch'd wide his eager arms, and shot the seas along. 

All naked now, on heaving billows laid, 

Stern Neptune eyed him, and contemptuous said: 

" Go, learn'd in woes, and other foes essay ! 
Go, wander helpless on the watery way : 
Thus, thus find out the destined shore, and then 
(If Jove ordains it) mix with happier men. 
Whate'er thy fate, the ills our wrath could raise 
Shall last remember'd in thy best of days." 
This said, his sea-green steeds divide the foam, 

And reach high ^Egae and the towery dome. 

Now, scarce withdrawn the fierce earth-shaking power, 

Jove's daughter Pallas watch'd the favoring hour. 

Back to their caves she bade the winds to fly, 

And hush'd the blustering brethren of the s'ky. 

The dryer blasts alone of Boreas sway, 

And bear him soft on broken waves away ; 

With gentle force impelling to that shore, 

Where Fate has destined he shall toil no more. 

And now, two nights, and now two days were pass'd, 

Since wide he wander'd on the watery waste ; 

Heaved on the surge with intermitting breath, 

And hourly panting in the arms of death. 

The third fair morn now blazed upon the main ; 

Then glassy smooth lay all the liquid plain ; 

The winds were hush'd, the billows scarcely curl'd, 

And a dead silence still'd the watery world ; 

When lifted on a ridgy wave he spies 

The land at distance, and with sharpen'd eyes. 

As pious children joy with vast delight 

When a loved sire revives before their sight 

(Who, lingering long, has call'd on death in vain, 

Fix'd by some demon to his bed of pain, 

Till Heaven by miracle his life restore) ; 

So joys Ulysses at the appearing shore : 

And sees (and labors onward as he sees) 

The rising forests, and the tufted trees. 

And now, as near approaching as the sound 

Of human voice the listening ear may wound, 



84 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK V. 

Amidst the rocks he heard a hollow roar 
Of murmuring surges breaking on the shore : 
Nor peaceful port was there, nor winding bay, 
To shield the vessel from the rolling sea, 
But cliffs, and shaggy shores, a dreadful sight ! 
All rough with rocks, with foamy billows white. 
Fear seized his slacken'd limbs and beating heart, 
As thus he communed with his soul apart : 

" Ah me ! when, o'er a length of waters toss'd, 
These eyes at last behold the unhoped-for coast, 
No port receives me from the angry main, 
But the loud deeps demand me back again. 
Above, sharp rocks forbid access ; around, 
Roar the wild waves ; beneath, is sea profound ! 
No footing sure affords the faithless sand, 
To stem too rapid, and too deep to stand. 
If here I enter, my efforts are vain, 
Dash'd on the cliffs, or heaved into the main ; 
Or round the island if my course I bend, 
Where the ports open, or the shores descend, 
Back to the seas the rolling surge may sweep, 
And bury all my hopes beneath the deep. 
Or some enormous whale the god may send 
(For many such on Amphitrite attend) ; 
Too well the turns of mortal chance I know, 
And hate relentless of my heavenly foe." 
While thus he thought, a monstrous wave upbore 
The chief, and dash'd him on the craggy shore : 
Torn was his skin, nor had the ribs been whole, 
But instant Pallas enter'd in his soul. 
Close to the cliff with both his hands he clung, 
And stuck adherent, and suspended hung ; 
Till the huge surge roll'd off ; then backward sweep 
The refluent tides, and plunge him in the deep. 
As when the polypus, from forth his cave 
Torn with full force, reluctant beats the wave, 
His ragged claws are stuck with stones and sands : 
So the rough rock had shagg'd Ulysses' hands 
And now had perish'd, whelm'd beneath the main, 
The unhappy man ; e'en fate had been in vain ; 
But all subduing Pallas lent her power, 
And prudence saved him in the needful hour. 
Beyond the beating surge his course he bore 
(A wider circle, but in sight of shore), 
With longing eyes, observing, to survey 
Some smooth ascent, or safe sequester'd bay. 
Between the parting rocks at length he spied 



BOOK V.] THE ODYSSEY. 85 

A falling stream with gentler waters glide ; 
Where to the seas the shelving shore declined, 
And form'd a bay impervious to the wind. 
To this calm port the glad Ulysses press'd, 
And hail'd the river, and its god address'd : 

" Whoe'er thou art, before whose stream unknown 
I bend, a suppliant at thy watery throne, 
Hear, azure king ! nor let me fly in vain 
To thee from Neptune and the raging main. 
Heaven hears and pities hapless men like me, 
For sacred even to gods is misery : 
Let then thy waters give the weary rest, 
And save a suppliant, and a man distress'd." 

He pray'd, and straight the gentle stream subsides, 
Detains the rushing current of his tides, 
Before the wanderer smooths the watery way, 
And soft receives him from the rolling sea. 
That moment, fainting as he touch'd the shore, 
He dropp'd his sinewy arms : his knees no more 
Perform'd their office, or his weight upheld : 
His svvoln heart heaved ; his bloated body swell'd: 
From mouth and nose the briny torrent ran ; 
And lost in lassitude lay all the man, 
Deprived of voice, of motion, and of breath ; 
The soul scarce waking in the arms of death. 
Soon as warm life its wonted office found, 
The mindful chief Leucothea's scarf unbound; 
Observant of her word, he turn'd aside 
His head, and cast it on the rolling tide. 
Behind him far, upon the purple waves, 
The waters waft it, and the nymph receives. 

Now parting from the stream, Ulysses found 
A mossy bank with pliant rushes crown'd ; 
The bank he press'd, and gently kiss'd the ground ; 
Where on the flowery herb as soft he lay, 
Thus to his soul the sage began to say : 

" What will ye next ordain, ye powers on high ! 
And yet, ah yet, what fates are we to try ? 
Here by the stream, if I the night out-wear, 
Thus spent already, how shall nature bear 
The dews descending, and nocturnal air ; 
Or chilly vapors breathing from the flood 
When morning rises ? If I take the wood, 
And in thick shelter of innumerous boughs 
Enjoy the comfort gentle sleep allows ; 
Though fenced from cold, and though my toil be pass'd 
What savage beasts may wander in the waste ! 



86 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK V. 

Perhaps I yet may fall a bloody prey 
To prowling bears, or lions in the way." 

Thus long debating in himself he stood: 
At length he took the passage to the wood, 
Whose shady horrors on a rising brow 
Waved high, and frown'd upon the stream below. 
There grew two olives, closest of the grove, 
With roots entwined, and branches interwove ; 
Alike their leaves, but not alike they smiled 
With sister-fruits ; one fertile, one was wild. 
Nor here the sun's meridian rays had power, 
Nor wind sharp-piercing, nor the rushing shower 
The verdant arch so close its texture kept : 
Beneath this covert great Ulysses crept. 
Of gather'd leaves an ample bed he made 
(Thick strewn by tempest through the bowery shade) ; 
Where three at least might winter's cold defy, 
Though Boreas raged along the inclement sky. 
This store with joy the patient hero found, 
And, sunk amidst them, heap'd the leaves around. 
As some poor peasant, fated to reside 
Remote from neighbors in a forest wide, 
Studious to save what human wants require, 
In embers heap'd, preserves the seeds of fire : 
Hid in dry foliage thus Ulysses lies, 
Till Pallas pour'd soft slumbers on his eyes ; 
And golden dreams (the gift of sweet repose) 
Lull'd all his cares, and banish'd all his woes. 



BOOK VI.] THE ODYSSEY. 87 



BOOK VI. 

ARGUMENT. 

Pallas appearing in a dream to Nausicaa (the daughter of Alcinous, king of Phzacia) 
commands her to descend to the river, and wash the robes of state, in preparation 
for her nuptials. Nausicaa goes with her handmaids to the river ; where, while 
the garments are spread on the bank, they divert themselves in sports. Their 
voices awake Ulysses, who, addressing himself to the princess, is by her relieved 
and clothed, and receives directions in what manner to apply to the king and queen 
of the island. 

WniLE-thus the weary wanderer sunk to rest, 

And peaceful slumbers calm'd his anxious breast, 

The martial maid from heaven's aerial height 

Swift to Phaeacia wing'd her rapid flight. 

In elder times the soft Phaeacian train 

In ease possess'd the wide Hyperian plain ; 

Till the Cyclopean race in arms arose, 

A lawless nation of gigantic foes : 

Then great Nausithous from Hyperia far, 

Through seas retreating from the sound of war, 

The recreant nation to fair Scheria led, 

Where never science rear'd her laurell'd head : 

There round his tribes a strength of wall he raised; 

To heaven the glittering domes and temples blazed : 

Just to his realms, he parted grounds from grounds, 

And shared the lands, and gave the lands their bounds. 

Now in the silent grave the monarch lay, 

And wise Alcinoiis held the legal sway.* 

To his high palace through the fields of air 
The goddess shot ; Ulysses was her care. 
There, as the night in silence rolled away, 
A heaven of charms divine Nausicaa lay : f 
Through the thick gloom the shining portals blaze ; 
Two nymphs the portals guard, each nymph a Grace. 

* Wist A kinous. The reader will scarcely, however, fail to perceive that Alcinotis 
is rather clever than wise. His character, distinguished by a kind of popular urbanity, 
stands in fine contrast to the deep and sound feelings of Uiysses. 

t A pretty sketch of the character of Nausicaa is given by Colonel Mure, v. i. 
p. 405. 



88 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VI. 

Light as the viewless air the warrior-maid 

Glides through the valves, and hovers round her head; 

A favorite virgin's blooming form she took, 

From Dymas sprung, and thus the vision spoke : 

" Oh indolent ! to waste thy hours awav ! 
And sleep'st thou careless of the bridal day? 
Thy spousal ornament neglected lies ; 
Arise, prepare the bridal train, arise ! 
A just applause the cares of dress impart, 
And give soft transport to a parent's heart. 
Haste, to the limpid stream direct thy way, 
When the gay morn unveils her smiling ray : 
Haste to the stream ! companion of thy care, 
Lo, I thy steps attend, thy labors share. 
Virgin, awake ! the marriage hour is nigh, 
See from their thrones thy kindred monarchs sigh ! 
The royal car at early dawn obtain, 
And order mules obedient to the rein ; 
For rough the way, and distant rolls the wave, 
Where their fair vests Phaeacian virgins lave. 
In pomp ride forth ; for pomp becomes the great, 
And majesty derives a grace from state." 

Then to the palaces of heaven she sails, 
Incumbent on the wings of wafting gales ; 
The seat of gods; the regions mild of peace, 
Full joy, and calm eternity of ease. 
There no rude winds presume to shake the skies, * 
No rains descend, no snowy vapors rise ; 
, But on immortal thrones the blest repose ; 
The firmament with living splendors glows. 
Hither the goddess winged the aerial way, 
Through heaven's eternal gates that blazed with day. 

Now from her rosy car Aurora shed 
The dawn, and all the orient flamed with red. 
Up rose the virgin with 'the morning light, 
Obedient to the vision of the night. 
The queen she sought, the queen her hours bestow'd 
In curious works ; the whirling spindle glow'd 
With crimson threads, while busy damsels cull 
The snowy fleece, or twist the purpled wool. 
Meanwhile Phasacia's peers in council sate ; 
From his high dome the king descends in state ; 
Then with a filial awe the royal maid 
Approach'd him passing, and submissive said : 

"Will my dread sire his ear regardful deign, 
And may his child the royal car obtain ? 

* This passage is rivalled in sublimity by Lucretius, iii. 18, seq. 



BOOK VI.] THE ODYSSEY. 



Say, with my garments shall I bend my way ? 
Where through the vales the mazy waters stray ? 
A dignity of dress adorns the great, 
And kings draw lustre from the robe of state. 
Five sons thou hast ; three wait the bridal day. 
And spotless robes become the young and gay : 
So when with praise amid the dance they shine, 
By these my cares adorn r d, that praise is mine." 

Thus she : but blushes ill-restrain'd betray 
Her thoughts intentive on the bridal day. 
The conscious sire the dawning blush surveyed, 
And, smiling, thus bespoke the blooming maid : 
" My child, my darling joy, the car receive ; 
That, and whate'er our daughter asks, we give." 

Swift at the royal nod the attending train 
The car prepare, the mules incessant rein. 
The blooming virgin with despatchful cares 
Tunics, and stoles, and robes imperial, bears. 
The queen, assiduous, to her train assigns 
The sumptuous viands, and the flavorous wines. 
The train prepare a cruse of curious mould, 
A cruse of fragrance, form'd of burnish'd gold ; 
Odor divine ! whose soft refreshing streams 
Sleek the smooth skin, and scent the snowy limbs. 

Now mounting the gay seat, the silken reins 
Shine in her hand ; along the sounding plains 
Swift fly the mules : nor rode the nymph alone ; 
Around, a bevy of bright damsels shone. 
They seek the cisterns where Pliaeacian dames 
Wash their fair garments in the limpid streams ; 
Where, gathering into depth from falling rills, 
The lucid wave a spacious basin fills. 
The mules, unharness'd, range beside the main, 
Or crop the verdant herbage of the plain. 

Then emulous the royal robes they lave, 
And plunge the vestures in the cleansing wave 
(The vestures cleansed o'erspread the shelly sand, 
Their snowy lustre whitens all the strand) ; 
Then with a short repast relieve their toil, 
And o'er their limbs diffuse ambrosial oil; 
And while the robes imbibe the solar ray, 
O'er the green mead the sporting virgins play 
(Their shining veils unbound). Along the skies, 
Toss'd and retoss'd, the balls incessant flies. 
They sport, they feast ; Nausicaa lifts her voice, 
And, warbling sweet, makes earth and heaven rejoice. 

As when o'er Erymanth Diana roves, 



9 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VI. 

Or wide Taygetus' resounding groves ; 

A sylvan train the huntress queen surrounds, 

Her rattling quiver from her shoulders sounds: 

Fierce in the sport, along the mountain's brow 

They bay the boar, or chase the bounding roe ; 

High o'er the lawn, with more majestic pace, 

Above the nymphs she treads with stately grace; 

Distinguish'd excellence the goddess proves ; 

Exults Latona as the virgin moves. 

With equal grace Nausicaa trod the plain, 

And shone transcendent o'er the beauteous train. 

Meantime (the care and favorite of the skies) 
Wrapp'd in imbowering shade, Ulysses lies, 
His woes forgot ! but Pallas now address'd 
To break the bands of all-composing rest. 
Forth from her snowy hand Nausicaa threw 
The various ball ; the ball erroneous Hew, 
And swam the stream ; loud shrieks the virgin train, 
And the loud shriek redoubles from the main. 
Waked by the shrilling sound, Ulysses .rose, 
And, to the deaf woods wailing, breathed his woes : 

"Ah me ! on what inhospitable coast, 
On what new region is Ulysses toss'd; 
Possess'd by wild barbarians fierce in arms ; 
Or men, whose bosom tender pity warms ? 
What sounds are these that gather from the shores ? 
The voice of nymphs that haunt the sylvan bowers, 
The fair-hair'd Dryads of the shady w r ood ; 
Or azure daughters of the silver flood; 
Or human voice ? but issuing from the shades, 
Why cease I straight to learn what sound invades ? " 

Then, where the grove with leaves umbrageous bends, 
With forceful strength a branch the hero rends ; 
Around his loins the verdant cincture spreads 
A wreathy foliage and concealing shades. 
As when a lion in the midnight hours, 
Beat by rude blasts, and wet with wintry showers, 
Descends terrific from the mountain's brow ; 
With living flames his rolling eye-balls glow ; 
With conscious strength elate, he bends his way, 
Majestically fierce, to seize his prey 
(The steer or stag) ; or, with keen hunger bold, 
Springs o'er the fence, and dissipates the fold. 
No less a terror, from the neighboring groves 
(Rough from the tossing surge) Ulysses moves ; 
Urged on by want, and recent from the storms ; 
The brackish ooze his manly grace deforms. 



BOOK VI.] THE ODYSSEY. 9 l 

Wide o'er the shore with many a piercing cry 

To rocks, to caves, the frighted virgins fly; 

All but the nymph; the nymph stood fix'd alone, 

By Pallas arm'd with boldness not her own. 

Meantime in dubious thought the king awaits, 

And, self-considering, as he stands, debates; 

Distant his mournful story to declare, 

Or prostrate at her knee address the prayer. 

But fearful to offend, by wisdom sway'd, 

At awful distance he accosts the maid : 

" If from the skies a goddess, or if earth 
(Imperial virgin) boast thy glorious birth, 
To thee I bend ! If in that bright disguise 
Thou visit earth, a daughter of the skies, 
Hail, Dian, hail ! the huntress of the groves 
So shines majestic, and so stately moves, 
So breathes an air divine ! But if thy race 
Be mortal, and {his earth thy native place, 
Blest is the father from whose loins you sprung, 
Blest is the mather at whose breast you hung, 
Blest are the brethren who thy blood divide, 
To such a miracle of charms allied : 
Joyful they see applauding princes gaze, 
When stately in the dance you swim the harmonious maze. 
But blest o'er all, the youth with heavenly charms, 
Who clasps the bright perfection in his arms ! 
Never, I never view'd till this blest hour 
Such finish 'd grace ! I gaze, and I adore ! 
Thus seems the palm, with stately honors crown'd 
By Phoebus' altars ; thus o'erlooks the ground ; 
The pride of Delos. (By the Delian coast, 
I voyaged, leader of a 'warrior-host, 
But ah, how changed ! from thence my sorrow flows ; 
O fatal vovage, source of all my woes !) 
Raptured I stood, and as this hour amazed, 
With reverence at the lofty wonder gazed : 
Raptured I stand! for earth ne'er knew to bear 
A plant so stately, or a nymph so fair. 
Awed from access, I lift my suppliant hands ; 
For Misery, O queen ! before thee stands. 
Twice ten tempestuous nights I roll'd, resign'd 
To roaring billows, and the warring wind ; 
Heaven bade the deep to spare ; but heaven, my foe, 
Spares only to inflict some mightier woe. 
Inured to cares, to death in all its forms ; 
Outcast I rove, familiar with the storms. 
Once more I view the face of human kind : 



92 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK V I. 

Oh let soft pity touch thy generous mind ! 
Unconscious of what air 1 breathe, I stand 
Naked, defenceless on a narrow land. 
Propitious to my wants, a vest supply 
To guard the wretched from the inclement sky: 
So may the gods, who heaven and earth control, 
Cr< wn the chaste wishes of thy virtuous soul, 
On h soft hours their choicest blessings shed; 
Blest with a husband be thy bridal bed ; 
Blest be thy husband with a blooming race, 
And lasting union crown your blissful days. 
The gods, when they supremely bless, bestow 
Firm union on their favorites below: 
Then envy grieves, with inly-pining hate ; 
The good exult, and heaven is in our state." 

To whom the nymph : " O stranger, cease thy care ; 
Wise is thy soul, but man is born to bear : 
Jove weighs affairs of earth in dubious scales, 
And the good suffers, while the bad prevails. 
Bear, with a soul resign'd, the will of Jove ; 
Who breathes, must mourn : thy woes are from above. 
But since thou tread'st our hospitable shore, 
'Tis mine to bid the wretched grieve no more, 
To clothe the naked, and thy way to guide. 
Know, the Phaeacian tribes this land divide ; 
From great Alcinoiis' royal loins I spring, 
A happy nation, and a happy king." 

Then to her maids : " Why, why, ye coward train, 
These fears, this flight ? ye fear, and fly in vain. 
Dread ye a foe ? dismiss that idle dread, 
'Tis death with hostile step these shores to tread : 
Safe in the love of heaven, an ocean flows 
Around our realm, a barrier from the foes ; 
'Tis ours this son of sorrow to relieve, 
Cheer the sad heart, nor let affliction grieve. 
By Jove the stranger and the poor arc sent ; 
And what to those we give to Jove is lent. 
Then f<4od supply, and bathe his fainting limbs 
Where waving shades obscure the mazy streams." 

Obedient to the call, the chief they guide 
To the calm current of the secret tide; 
Close by the stream a royal dress they lay, 
A vest and robe, with rich embroidery gay : 
Then unguents in a vase of gold supply, 
That breathed a fragrance through the balmy sky. 

To them the king : " No longer I detain 
Your friendly care : retire, ye virgin train! 



BOOK VI.] THE ODYSSEY. 93 



Retire, while from my wearied limbs I lave 
The foul pollution of the briny wave. 
Ye gods ! since this worn frame refection knew, 
What scenes have I surveyed of dreadful view! 
But, nymphs, recede ! sage chastity denies 
To raise the blush, or pain the modest eyes." 

The nymphs withdrawn, at once into the tide 
Active he bounds ; the flashing waves divide : 
O'er all his limbs his nands the waves-diffuse, 
And from his locks compress the weedy ooze ; 
The balmy oil, the fragrant shower, he sheds ; 
Then, dressed, in pomp magnificently treads. 
The warrior-goddess gives his frame to shine 
With majesty enlarged, and air divine : 
Back from his brows a length of hair unfurls, 
His hyacinthine locks descend in wavy curls. 
As by some artist, to whom Vulcan gives 
His skill divine, 2 breathing statue lives; 
By Pallas taught, he frames the wondrous mould, 
And o'er the silver pours the fusile gold. 
So Pallas his heroic frame improves 
With heavenly bloom, and like a god he moves. 
A fragrance breathes around ; majestic grace 
Attends his steps : the astonished virgins gaze. 
Soft he reclines along the murmuring seas, 
Inhaling freshness from the fanning breeze. 

The wondering nymph his glorious port survey'd, 
And to her damsels, with amazement, said: 

"Not without care divine the stranger treads 
This land of joy ; his steps some godhead leads : 
Would Jove destroy him, sure he had been driven 
Far from this realm, the favorite isle of heaven. 
Late, a sad spectacle of woe, he trod 
The desert sands, and now he looks a god. 
Oh heaven ! in my connubial hour decree 
This man my spouse, or such a spouse as he ! 
But haste, the viands and the bowl provide." 
The maids the viands and the bowl supplied: 
Eager he fed, for keen his hunger raged, 
And with the generous vintage thirst assuaged. 

Now on return her care Nausicaa bends, 
The robes resumes, the glittering car ascends, 
Far blooming o'er the field ; and as she press'd 
The splendid scat, the listening chief address'd : 

" Stranger, arise ! the sun rolls down the day, 
Lo, to the palace I direct thy way ; 
Where, in high state, the nobles of the land 



94 THE ODYSSEY. I BOOK VI. 



Attend my royal sire, a radiant band. 

But hear, though wisdom in thy soul presides, 

Speaks from thy tongue, and every action guides ; 

Advance at distance, while I pass the plain 

Where o'er the furrows waves the golden grain : 

Alone I reascend With airy mounds 

A strength of wall the guarded city bounds : 

The jutting land two ample bays divides ; 

Full through the narrow mouths descend the tides ; 

The spacious basins arching rocks enclose, 

A sure defence from every storm that blows. 

Close to the bay great Neptune's fane adjoins, 

And near, a forum flank'd with marble shines, 

Where the bold youth, the numerous fleets to store, 

Shape the broad sale, or smooth the taper oar: 

For not the bow they bend, nor boast the skill 

To give the feather'd arrow wings to kill ; 

But the tall mast above th2 vessel rear, 

Or teach the fluttering sail to float in air. 

They rush into the deep with eager joy, 

Climb the steep surge, and through the tempest fly ; 

A proud, unpolish'd race To me belongs 

The care to shun the blast of slanderous tongues ; 

Lest malice, prone the virtuous to defame, 

Thus with wild censure taint my spotless name : 

' What stranger this whom thus Nausicaa leads ! 

Heavens, with what graceful majesty he treads ! 

Perhaps a native of some distant shore, 

The future consort of her bridal hour: 

Or rather some descendant of the skies ; 

Won by her prayer, the aerial bridegroom flies. 

Heaven on that hour its choicest influence shed, 

That gave a foreign spouse to crown her bed ! 

All, all the godlike worthies that adorn 

This realm, she flies : Phasacia is her scorn.' 

And just the blame : for female innocence 

Not only flies the guilt, but shuns the offence; 

The unguarded virgin, as unchaste, I blame ; 

And the least freedom with the sex is shame, 

Till our consenting sires a spouse provide, 

And public r.uptials justify the bride. 

But wouldst thou soon review thy native plain ? 

Attend, and speedy thou shalt pass the main : 

Nigh where a grove with verdant poplars crown'd, 

To Pallas sacred, shades the holy ground, 

We bend our way : a bubbling fount distils 

A lucid lake, and thence descends in rills ; 



BOOK VI.] THE ODYSSEY. 95 

Around the grove, a mead with lively green 
Falls by degrees, and forms a beauteous scene ; 
Here a rich juice the royal vineyard pours ; 
And there the garden yields a waste of flowers. 
Hence lies the town, as far as to the ear- 
Floats a strong shout along the waves of air. 
There wait embower'd, while I ascend alone 
To great Alcinoiis on his royal throne. 
Arrived, advanced, impatient of delay, 
And to the lofty palace bend thy way : 
The lofty palace overlooks the town, 
From every dome by pomp superior known ; 
A child may point the way. With earnest gait 
Seek thou the queen along the rooms of state ; 
Her royal hand a wondrous work designs, 
Around a circle of bright damsels shines ; 
Part twist the threads, and part the wool dispose, 
While with the purple orb the spindle glows. 
High on a throne, amid the Scherian powers, 
My royal father shares the genial hours ; 
But to the queen thy mournful tale disclose, 
With the prevailing eloquence of woes : 
So shalt thou view with joy thy natal shore, 
Though mountains rise between, and oceans roar." 

She added not, but waving, as she wheel'd, 
The silver scourge, it glitter'd o'er the field : 
With skill the virgin guides the embroider'd rein, 
Slow rolls the car before the attending train. 
Now whirling down the heavens, the golden day 
Shot through the western clouds a dewy ray; 
The grove they reach, where, from the sacred shade, 
To Pallas thus the pensive hero pray'd : 

" Daughter of Jove ! whose arms in thunder wield 
The avenging bolt, and shake the dreadful shield ; 
Forsook by thee, in vain I sought thy aid 
When booming billows closed above my head ; 
Attend, unconquer'd maid ! accord my vows, 
Bid the Great hear, and pitying heal my woes." 

This heard Minerva, but forbore to fly 
(By Neptune awed) apparent from the sky : 
Stern god ! who raged with vengeance unrestrain'd, 
Till great Ulysses hail'd his native land. 



96 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK VII. 



BOOK VII. 

ARGUMENT. 

THE COURT OF ALCIKOUS. 

The princess Nausicaa returns to the city, and Ulysses soon after follows thither. 
He is met by Pallas in the form of a young virgin, who guides him to the palace, 
and directs him in what manner to address the queen Arete. She then involves 
him in a mist, which causes him to pass invisible. The palace and gardens of 
Alcinoiis described. Uiysses falling at the feet of the queen, the mist disperses, 
the Phzacians admire, and receive him witn respect. The queen inquiring by 
what means he had the garments he then wore, he relates to her and Aicinoiis his 
departure from Calypso, and his arrival in their dominions. 
The same day continues, and the book ends with the night. 

THE patient heavenly man thus suppliant pray'd ; 

While the slow mules draw on the imperial maid : 

Through the proud street she moves, the public gaze ; 

The turning wheel before the palace stays. 

With ready love her brothers, gathering round, 

Received the vestures, and the mules unbound. 

She seeks the bridal bower : a matron there 

The rising fire supplies with busy care, 

Whose charms in youth her father's heart inflamed, 

Now worn with age, Eurymedusa named : 

The captive dame Phaeacian rovers bore, 

Snatch'd from Epirus, her sweet native shore 

(A grateful prize), and in her bloom bestow'd 

On good Alcinoiis, honor'd as a god ; 

Nurse of Nausicaa from her infant years, 

And tender second to a mother's cares. 

Now from the sacred thicket where he lay, 
To town Ulysses took the winding way. 
Propitious Pallas, to secure her care, 
Around him spread a veil of thicken'd air; 
To shun the encounter of the vulgar crowd, 
Insulting still, inquisitive and loud. 
When near the famed Phaeaciar walls he drew, 
The beauteous city opening to his view, 
His step a virgin met, and stood before : 
A, polish'd urn the seeming virgin bore, 



BOOK VII-1 THE ODYSSEY. 97 

And youthful smiled ; but in the low disguise 
Lay hid the goddess with the azure eyes. 

" Show me, fair daughter (thus the chief demands) 
The house of him who rules these happy lands. 
Through many woes and wanderings, lo! I come 
To good Alcinoiis' hospitable dome. 
Far from my native coast, I rove alone, 
A wretched stranger, and of all unknown !" 

The goddess answer'd : " Father, I obey, 
And point the wandering traveller his way : 
Well known to me the palace you inquire, 
For fast beside it dwells my honor'd sire : 
But silent march, nor greet the common train 
With question needless, or inquiry vain : 
A race of rugged mariners are these, 
Unpolish'd men, and boisterous as their seas ; 
The native islanders alone their care, 
And hateful he who breathes a foreign air. 
These did the ruler of the deep ordain 
To build proud navies, and command the main ; 
On canvas wings to cut the watery way ; 
No bird so light, no thought so swift as they." 

Thus having spoke, the unknown celestial leads : 
The footsteps of the deity he treads, 
And secret moves along the crowded space, 
Unseen of all the rude Phaeacian race. 
(So Pallas order'd. Pallas to their eyes 
The mist objected, and condensed the skies.) 
The chief with wonder sees the extended streets, 
The spreading harbors, and the riding fleets ; 
He next their princes' lofty domes admires, 
In separate islands, crown'd with rising spires; 
And deep entrenchments, and high walls of stone, 
That gird the city like a marble zone. 
At length the kingly palace-gates he view'd ; 
There stopp'd the goddess, and her speech renew'd: 

" My task is done ; the mansion you inquire 
Appears before you : enter and admire. 
High-throned, and feasting, there thou shalt behold 
The sceptred rulers. Fear not, but be bold: 
A decent boldness ever meets with friends, 
Succeeds, and even a stranger recommends. 
First to the queen prefer a suppliant's claim, 
Alcinoiis' queen, Arete is her name. 
The same her parents, and her power the same. 
For know, from ocean's god Nausithoiis sprung, 
And Peribsea, beautiful and young 

7 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VII. 



(Eurymedon's last hope, who ruled of old 

The race of giants, impious, proud, and bold : 

Perish 'd the nation in unrighteous war, 

Perish'd the prince, and left this only heir), 

Who now, by Neptune's amorous power corrrpress'd, 

Produced a monarch that his people bless'd, 

Father and princTe of the Phasacian name ; 

From him Rhexenor and Alcinoiis came.* 

The first by Phoebus' burning arrows fired, 

New from his nuptials, hapless youth ! expired. 

No son survived ; Arete heir'd his state, 

And her, Alcinoiis chose his royal mate. 

With honors yet to womankind unknown. 

This queen he graces, and divides the throne; 

In equal tenderness her sons conspire, 

And all the children emulate their sire. 

When through the streets she gracious deigns to move 

(The public wonder and the public love), 

The tongues of all with transport sound her praise, 

The eyes of all, as on a goddess, gaze. 

She feels the triumph of a generous breast : 

To heal divisions, to relieve the oppressed ; 

In virtue rich ; in blessing others, bless'd. 

Go then secure, thy humble suit prefer, 

And owe thy country and thy friends to her." 

With that the goddess deign'd no longer stay, 
But o'er the world of waters wing'd her way : 
Forsaking Scheria's ever-pleasing shore, 
The winds to Marathon the virgin bore : 
Thence, where proud Athens rears her towery head,f 
With opening streets and shining structures spread, 
She pass'd. delighted with the well-known seats ; 
And to Erectheus' sacred dome retreats. 

Meanwhile Ulysses at the palace waits, 
There stops, and anxious with his soul debates, 
Fix'd in amaze before the royal gates. 
The front appear'd with radiant splendors gay, 
Bright as the lamp of night, or orb of day, 
The walls were massy brass : the cornice high 
Blue metals crown'd in colors of the sky ; 
Rich plates of gold the folding doors incase; 
The pillars silver, on a brazen base ; 

* The names" Rhexenor" (man-breaker), and "Alcinoiis" (mind-strong) are 
evidently antithetical. Colonel Mure looks upon the latter name as conveying a 
latent sarcasm. 

1 Athens. I need scarcely remind my readers that this was emphatically the city 
of Pallas. 



BOOK VII.] THE ODYSSEY. 99 

Silver the lintels deep-projecting o'er, 

And gold the ringlets that command the door. 

Two rows of stately dogs, on either hand, 

In sculptured gold'and labor'd silver stand. 

These Vulcan form'd with art divine, to wait 

Immortal guardians at Alcinoiis' gate ; 

Alive each animated frame appears, 

And still to live beyond the power of years. 

Fair thrones within from space to space were raised 

Where various carpets with embroidery blazed, 

The work of matrons : these the princes press'd, 

Day following day, a long-continued feast. 

Refulgent pedestals the walls surround, 

Which boys of gold with flaming tenches crown'd ; 

The polish'd ore, reflecting every ray, 

Blazed on the banquets with a double day, 

Full fifty handmaids form the household train ; 

Some turn the mill, or sift the golden grain ; 

Some ply the loom ; their busy fingers move 

Like poplar-leaves when Zephyr fans the grove. 

Not more renown'd the men of Scheria's isle 

For sailing arts and all the naval toil, 

Than works of female skill their women's pride, 

The flying shuttle through the threads to guide : 

Pallas to these her double gifts imparts, 

Inventive genius, and industrious arts. 

Close to the gates a spacious garden lies, 
From storms defended and inclement skies. 
Four acres was the allotted space of ground, 
Fenced with a green enclosure all around. 
Tall thriving trees confess'd the fruitful mould: 
The reddening apple ripens here to gold. 
Here the blue fig with luscious juice o'erflows, 
With deeper red tne full pomegranate glows : 
The branch here bends beneath the weighty pear, 
And verdant olives flourish round the year. 
The balmy spirit of the western gale 
Eternal breathes on fruits, untaught to fail : 
Each dropping pear a following pear supplies, 
On apples apples, figs on figs arise : 
The same mild season gives the blooms to blow 
The buds to harden, and th'e fruits to grow. 

Here order'd vines in equal ranks appear, 
With all the united labors of the year ; 
Some to unload the fertile branches run, 
Some dry the blackening clusters in the sun, 
Others to trend the liquid harvest join : 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VII. 



The groaning presses foam with floods of wine. 
Here are the vines in early flower descried, 
Here grapes discolor'd on the sunny side, 
And there in autumn's richest purple dyed. 

Beds of all various herbs, forever green, 
In beauteous order terminate the scene. 

Two plenteous fountains the whole prospect crown'd 
This through the gardens leads its streams around, 
Visits each plant, and waters all the ground ; 
While that in pipes beneath the palace flows, 
And thence its- current on the town bestows : 
To various use their various streams they bring, 
The people one, and one supplies the king. 

Such were the glories which the gods ordain'd, 
To grace Alcinotis, and his happy land. 
E'en from the chief whom men and nations knew 
The unwonted scene surprise and rapture drew; 
In pleasing thought he ran the prospect o'er, 
Then hasty enter'd at the lofty door. 
Night now approaching, in the palace stand, 
With goblets crown'd, the rulers of the land ; 
Prepared for rest, and offering to the god * 
Who bears the virtue of the sleepy rod, 
Unseen he glided through the joyous crowd, 
With darkness circled, and an ambient cloud. 
Direct to great Alcinoiis' throne he came, 
And prostrate fell before the imperial dame. 
Then from around him dropp'd the veil of night ; 
Sudden he shines, and manifest to sight. 
The nobles gaze, with awful fear oppress'd ; 
Silent they gaze, and eye the godlike guest. 

" Daughter of great Rhexenor ! (thus began, 
Low at her knees, the much-enduring man) 
To thee, thy consort, and this royal train, 
To all that sha're the blessings of your reign, 
A suppliant bends : oh pity human woe ! 
'Tis what the happy to the unhappy owe. 
A wretched exile to his country send, 
Long worn with griefs, and long without a friend. 
So may the gods your better days increase, 
And all your joys descend on all your race ; 
So reign forever on your country's breast, 
Your people blessing, by your people bless'd ! " 

Then to the genial hearth he bow'd his face, 
And humbled in the ashes took his place. 

* Mercury. 



BOOK VII.] THE ODYSSEY. 



Silence ensued. The eldest first began, 

Echeneus sage, a venerable man ! 

Whose well-taught mind the present age surpass'd, 

And join'd to that the experience of the last. 

Fit words attended on his weighty sense, 

And mild persuasion flow'd in eloquence. 

" Oh sight (he cried) dishonest and unjust ! 
A guest, a stranger, seated in the dust ! 
To raise the lowly suppliant from the ground 
Befits a monarch. Lo ! the peers around 
But wait thy word, the gentle guest to grace, 
And seat him fair in some distinguish'd place. 
Let first the herald due libation pay 
To Jove, who guides the wanderer on his way ; 
Then set the genial banquet in his view, 
And give the stranger-guest a stranger's due." 

His sage advice the listening king obeys, 
He stretch'd his hand the prudent chief to raise, 
And from his seat Laodamas removed 
(The monarch's offspring, and his best beloved) ; 
There next his side the godlike hero sate ; 
With stars of silver shone the bed of state. 
The golden ewer a beauteous handmaid brings, 
Replenish'd from the cool translucent springs, 
Whose polish'd vase with copious streams supplies 
A silver laver of capacious size. 
The table next in regal order spread, 
The glittering canisters are heap'd with bread : 
Viands of various kinds invite the taste, 
Of choicest sort and savor, rich repast ! 
Thus feasting high. Alcinous gave the sign, 
And bade the herald pour the rosy wine ; 
" Let all around the due libation pay 
To Jove, who guides the wanderer on his way." 

He said. Pontonous heard the king's command; 
The circling goblet moves from hand to hand ; 
Each drinks the juice that glads the heart of man. 
Alcinous then, with aspect mild, began : 

" Princes and peers, attend ; while we impart 
To you the thoughts of no inhuman heart. 
Now pleased and satiate from the social rite 
Repair we to the blessings of the night ; 
But with the rising day, assembled here, 
Let all the elders of the land appear, 
Pious observe our hospitable laws, 
And Heaven propitiate in the stranger's cause ; 
Then join'd in council, proper means explore 



fHE ODYSSEY. [BoOK VII. 



Safe to transport him to the wished-for shore 

(How distant that, imports us not to know, 

Nor weigh the labor, but relieve the woe). 

Meantime, nor harm nor anguish let him bear : 

This interval, Heaven trusts him to our care ; 

But to his native land our charge resign'd, 

Heaven's is his life to come, and all the woes behind. 

Then must he surfer what the Fates ordain ; 

For Fate has wove the thread of life with pain ! 

And twins, e'en from the birth, are Misery and Man! 

But if, descended from the Olympian bower, 

Gracious approach us some immortal power ; 

If in that form thou comest a guest divine : 

Some high event the conscious gods design. 

As yet, unbid they never graced our feast, 

The solemn sacrifice call'd down the guest ; 

Then manifest of Heaven the vision stood, 

And to our eyes familiar was the god. 

Oft with some favor'd traveller they stray, 

And shine before him all the desert way'; 

With social intercourse, and face to face, 

The friends and guardians of our pious race. 

So near approach we their celestial kind, 

By justice, truth, and probity of mind ; 

As our dire neighbors of Cyclopean birth 

Match in fierce wrong the giant-sons of earth." 

" Let no such thought (with modest grace rejoin'd 
The prudent Greek) possess the royal mind. 
Alas'! a mortal, like thyself, am I ; 
No glorious native of yon azure sky : 
In form, ah how unlike their heavenly kind ! 
How more inferior in the gifts of mind ! 
Alas, a mortal ! most oppress'd of those 
Whom Fate has loaded with a weight of woes ; 
By a sad train of miseries alone 
Distinguish'd long, and second now to none ! 
By Heaven's high will compell'd from shore to shore ; 
With Heaven's high will prepared to suffer more. 
What histories of toil could I declare ! 
But still long-wearied nature wants repair; 
Spent with fatigue, and shrunk with pining fast, 
My craving bowels still require repast. 
Howe'er the noble, suffering mind may grieve 
Its load of anguish, and disdain to live 
Necessity demands our daily bread; 
Hunger is insolent, and will be fed. 
But finish, oh ye peers ! what you propose, 



BOOK VII.] THE ODYSSEY, 103 

And let the morrow's dawn conclude my woes. 
Pleased will I suffer all the gods ordain, 
To see my soil, my son, my friends again. 
That view vouchsafed, let instant death surprise 
With ever-during shade these happy eyes ! " 

The assembled peers with general praise approved 
His pleaded reason, and the suit he moved. 
Each drinks a full oblivion of his cares, 
And to the gifts of balmy sleep repairs. 
Ulysses in the regal walls alone 
Remain'd : beside him, on a splendid throne, 
Divine Arete and Alcinoiis shone. 
The queen, on nearer view, the guest survey'd, 
Rob'd in the garments her own hands had made, 
Not without wonder seen. Then thus began, 
Her words addressing to the godlike man : 

"Camest thou not hither, wondrous stranger ! say, 
From lands remote, and o'er a length of sea"? 
Tell, then, whence art thou ? whence that princely air ? 
And robes like these, so recent and so fair? " 

" Hard is the task, O princess ! you impose 
(Thus sighing spoke the man of many woes), 
The long, the mournful series to relate 
Of all my sorrows sent by Heaven and Fate ! 
Yet what you ask. attend. An island lies 
Beyond these tracts, and under other skies, 
Ogygia named, in Ocean's watery arms ; 
Where dwells Calypso, dreadful in her charms ! 
Remote from gods or men she holds her reign, 
Amid the terrors of a rolling main. 
Me, only me, the hand of fortune bore, 
Unblest! to tread that interdicted shore : 
When Jove tremendous in the sable deeps 
Launch'd his red lightning at our scatter'd ships : 
Then, all my fleet, and all my followers lost, 
Sole on a plank, on boiling surges toss'd, 
Heaven drove my wreck the Ogygian isle to find, 
Full nine days floating to the wave and wind. 
Met by the goddess there with open arms, 
She bribed my stay with more than human charms; 
Nay, promised, vainly promised, to bestow 
Immortal life, exempt from age and woe; 
But all her blandishments successless prove, 
To banish from my breast my country's love. 
I stay reluctant seven continued years, 
And water her ambrosial couch with tears, 
The eighth she voluntary moves to part, 



104 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VII. 

Or urged by Jove, or her own changeful heart. 

A raft was form'd to cross the surging sea ; 

Herself supplied the stores and rich array, 

And gave the gales to waft me on the way. 

In seventeen days appear'd your pleasing coast, 

And woody mountains half in vapors lost. 

Joy touch'd my soul : my soul was joy'd in vain, 

For angry Neptune roused the raging main ; 

The wild winds whistle, and the billows roar; 

The splitting raft the furious tempest tore ; 

And storms vindictive intercept the shore. 

Soon as their rage subsides, the seas I brave 

With naked force, and shoot along the wave, 

To reach this isle ; but there my hopes were lost, 

The surge impell'd me on a craggy coast. 

I chose the safer sea, and chanced to find 

A river's mouth impervious to the wind. 

And clear of rocks. I fainted by the flood ; 

Then took the shelter of the neighboring wood. 

'Twas night, and, cover'd in the foliage deep, 

Jove plunged my senses in the death of sleep. 

All night I slept, oblivious of my pain : 

Aurora clawn'd and Phoebus shined in vain, 

Nor, till oblique he sloped his evening ray, 

Had Somnus dried the balmy dews away. 

Then female voices from the shore I heard ! 

A maid amidst them, goddess-like, appear'd ; 

To her I sued, she pitied my distress ; 

Like thee in beauty, nor in virtue less. 

Who from such youth could hope considerate care ? 

In youth and beauty wisdom is but rare ! 

She gave me life, relieved with just supplies 

My wants, and lent these robes that strike your eyes. 

This is the truth : and oh, ye powers on high ! 

Forbid that want should sink me to a lie." 

To this the king : " Our daughter but express'd 
Her cares imperfect to our godlike guest. 
Suppliant to her, since first he chose to pray, 
Why not herself did she conduct the way, 
And with her handmaids to our court convey?" 

" Hero and king (Ulysses thus replied) 
Nor blame her faultless nor suspect of pride : 
She bade me follow in the attendant^ train ; 
But fear and reverence did my steps detain, 
Lest rash suspicion might alarm thy mind : 
Man's of a jealous and mistaken kind." 

" Far from my soul (he cried; the gods efface 



BOOK VII.] THE ODYSSEY. 105 

All wrath ill-grounded, and suspicion base ! 

Whate'er is honest, stranger, I approve, 

And would to Phoebus, Pallas, and to Jove, 

Such as thou art, thy thought and mine were one, 

Nor thou unwilling to be call'd my son. 

In such alliance couldst thou wish to join, 

A palace stored with treasures should be thine. 

But if reluctant, who shall force thy stay ? 

Jove bids to set the stranger on his way, 

And ships shall wait thee with the morning ray. 

Till then, let slumber cross thy careful eyes : 

The wakeful mariners shall watch the skies, 

And seize the moment when the breezes rise : 

Then gently warft thee to the pleasing shore, 

Where thy soul rests, and labor is no more. 

Far as Eubcea though thy country lay, 

Our ships with ease transport thee in a day. 

Thither of old, earth's giant son* to view, 

On wings of wind with Rhadamanth they flew ; 

This land, from whence their morning course begun, 

Saw them returning with the setting sun. 

Your eyes shall witness and confirm my tale, 

Our youth how dexterous, and how fleet our sail, 

Wfien justly timed with equal sweep they row, 

And ocean whitens in long tracks below." 

Thus he. No word the experienced man replies, 
But thus to heaven (and heavenward lifts his eyes) : 
" O Jove ! O father ! what the king accords 
Do thou make perfect ! sacred be his words ! 
Wide o'er the world Alcinoiis' glory shine ! 
Let fame be his,- and ah ! my country mine ! " 

Meantime Arete, for the hour of rest, 
Ordains the fleecy couch, and covering vest ; 
Bids her fair train the purple quilts prepare, 
And the thick carpets spread with busy care. 
With torches blazing in their hands they pass'd, 
And finish'd all their queen's command with haste : 
Then gave the signal to the willing guest : 
He rose with pleasure, and retired to rest. 
There, soft extended, to the murmuring sound 
Of the high porch, Ulysses sleeps profound! 
Within, released from cares, Alcinoiis lies ; 
And fast beside were closed Arete's eyes. 

Tityu.. 



106 THE ODYSSEY. |BooK VIII. 



BOOK VIII. 



ARGUMENT. 

Alcinniis calls a council, in which it is resolved to transport Ulysses into his country. 
After which, splendid entertainments are made, where the celebrated musician 
and poet, Demodocus, plays and sings to the guests. They next proceed to the 
games, the race, the wrestling, discus, &c., where Ulysses casts a prodigious 
length, to the admiration of all the spectators. They return again to the banquet, 
and Demodocus sings the loves of Mars and Venus. Uiysses, after a compliment 
to the poet, desires him to sing the introduction of tlie wooden horse into Troy, 
which subject provoking his tears, Alcinoiis inquires of his guest his name, paren- 
tage, and fortunes. 

Now fair Aurora lifts her golden ray, 
And all the ruddy orient flames with day: 
Alcinoiis, and the chief, with dawning light, 
Rose instant from the slumbers of the night ; 
Then to the council-seat they bend their way, 
And fill the shining thrones along the bay. 

Meanwhile Minerva, in her guardian care, 
Shoots from the starry vault through fields of air; 
In form, a herald of the king, she flies 
From peer to peer, and thus incessant cries : 

" Nobles and chiefs who rule Phaeacia's states, 
The king in council your attendance waits ; 
A prince of grace divine your aid implores, 
O'er unknown seas arrived from unknown shores." 

She spoke, and sudden with tumultuous sounds 
Of thronging multitudes the shore rebounds: 
At once the seats they fill ; and every eye 
Gazed, as before some brother of the sky. 
Pallas with grace divine his form improves, 
More high he treads, and more enlarged he moves : 
She sheds celestial bloom, regard to draw ; 
And gives a dignity of mien, to awe ; 
With strength, the future prize of fame to play, 
And gather all the honors of the day. 

Then from his glittering throne Alcinoiis rose : 
" Attend (he cried) while we our will disclose. 
Your present aid this godlike stranger craves, 
Toss'd by rude tempest through a war of waves : 



BOOK VIII.] THE ODYSSEY. i7 

Perhaps from realms that view the rising day, 
Or nations subject to the western ray. 
Then grant, what here all sons of woe obtain 
(For here affliction never pleads in vain) : 
Be chosen youths prepared, expert to try 
The vast profound, and bid the vessel fly : 
Launch the tall bark, and order every oar; 
Then in our court indulge the genial hour. 
Instant, you sailors to this task attend ; 
Swift to the palace, all ye peers, ascend ; 
Let none to strangers honors due disclaim : 
Be there Demodocus, the bard of fame,* 
Taught by the gods to please, when high he sings 
The vocal lay, responsive to the strings." 

Thus spoke the prince : the attending peers obey; 
In state they move ; Alcinoiis leads the way : 
Swift to Demodocus the herald flies, 
At once the sailors to their charge arise : 
They launch the vessel, and unfurl the sails, 
And stretch the swelling canvas to the gales ; 
Then to the palace move : a gathering throng, 
Youth, and white age, tumultuous pour along. 
Now all accesses to the dome are fill'd ; 
Eignt boars, the choicest of the herd, are kill'd ; 
Two beeves, twelve failings, from the flock they bring 
To crown the feast ; so wills the bounteous king. 
The herald now arrives, and guides along 
The sacred master of celestial song; 
Dear to the Muse ! who gave his days to flow 
With mighty blessings, mix'd with mighty woe ; 
With clouds of darkness quench'd his visual ray, 
But gave him skill to raise the lofty lay. 
High on a radiant throne' sublime in state, 
Encircled by huge multitudes, he sate : 
With silver shone the throne : his lyre, well strung 

* r)tmodocus. Of the early bards of Greece Heeren elegantly observes : " The 
gift of son came to ihem from the gods : it is the muse or Jove himself who inspires 
them, and teaches them what they should sing. As this idea continually recurs, it is 
probable that their poetical effusion* were often extemporaneous : at least this seems 
in many cases hardly to admit of a doubt. Ulysses proposes to Demodocus the sub- 
ject of his song ; and the bard, like the modern improvisator!, commences his strains 
under the influence of the sudden inspiration. We would by no means be understood 
to assert, that there were none but extemporaneous productions. Certain sonrs very 
naturally became favorites and were kept alive in the mouths of the poets ; whilst an 
infinite number, which were but the offspring of the moment, died away at their 
birth. Rut an abundance of songs was needed, a variety was required, and the charm 
of novelty even then enforced its claims. 

" ' For novel lays attract our ravish'd ears ; 
But old, the mind with inattention hears.' " 

Heeren's Greece, p. 93, seq. 



108 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VIIL 



To rapturous sounds, at hand Pontonous hung : 
Before his seat a polish'd table shines, 
And a full goblet foams with generous wines ; 
His food a herald bore : and now they fed ; 
And now the rage of craving hunger fled. 

Then, fired by all the Muse, aloud he sings 
The mighty deeds of demigods and kings : 
From that fierce wrath the noble song arose, 
That made Ulysses and Achilles foes : 
How o'er the feast they doom the fall of Troy ; 
The stern debate Atrides hears with joy : 
For Heaven foretold the contest, when'he trod 
The marble threshold of the Delphic god, 
Curious to learn the counsels of the sky, 
Ere yet he loosed the rage of war on Troy. 

Touch'd at the song, Ulysses straight resign'd 
To soft affliction all his manly mind. 
Before his eyes the purple vest he drew, 
Industrious to conceal the falling dew: 
But when the music paused, he ceased to shed 
Thj flowing tear, and raised his drooping head ; 
And, lifting to the gods a goblet crown'd, 
He pour'd a pure libation to the ground. 

Transported with the song, the listening train 
Again with loud applause demand the strain: 
Again Ulysses veil'd his pensive head, 
Again unmann'd, a shower of sorrows shed ; 
Conceal'd he wept: the king observed alone 
The silent tear, and heard the secret groan ; 
Then to the bard aloud " O cease to sing, 
Dumb be thy voice and mute the harmonious string; 
Enough the feast has pleased, enough the power 
Of heavenly song has crown'd the genial hour ! 
. Incessant in the games your strength display,* 
Contest, ye brave, the honors of the day ! 
That pleased the admiring stranger may proclaim 
In distant regions the Phaeacian fame : 
None wield the gauntlet with so dire a sway, 
Or swifter in the race devour the way ; 
None in the leap spring with so strong a bound, 
Or firmer, in the wrestling, press the ground." 

Thus spoke the king; the attending peers obey; 
In state they move, Alcinoiis lends the way: 
His golden lyre Demodocus unstrung, 

The fames. The remarks made on the Iliad, in illustration of the funeral games 
celebrated in honor of Patroclus, will be found of some use in reading the present 
passage. 



BOOK VIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 109 

High on a column in the palace hung ; 
And guided by a herald's guardian cares, 
Majestic to the lists of Fame repairs. 

Now swarms the populace : a countless throng, 
Youth and hoar age ; and man drives man along. 
The games begin : ambitious of the prize, 
Acroneus, Thoon, and Eretmeus rise; 
The prize Ocyalus and Prymneus' claim, 
Anchialus and Ponteus, chiefs of fame. 
There Proreus, Nautes, Eratreus, appear, 
And famed Amphialus, Polyneus heir ; 
Euryalus, like Mars terrific, rose, 
When clad in -wrath he withers hosts of foes ; 
Naubolides with grace unequall'd shone, 
Or equall'd by Laodamas alone. 
With these came forth Ambasineus the strong: 
And three brave sons, from great Alcinoiis sprung. 

Ranged in a line the ready racers stand, 
Start from the goal, and vanish o'er the strand: 
Swift as on wings of winds, upborne they fly, 
And drifts of rising dust involve the sky. 
Before the rest, what space the hinds allow 
Between the mule and ox, from plough to plough, 
Clytonius sprung : he wing'd the rapid way, 
And bore the tinrivall'd honors of the day. 
With fierce embrace the brawny wrestlers join ; 
The conquest, great Euryalus, is thine. 
Amphialus sprung forward with a bound, 
Superior in the leap, a length of ground. 
From Elatreus' strong arm the discus flies, 
And sings with unmatch'd force along the skies. 
And Laodam whirls high, wi-th dreadful sway, 
The gloves of death, victorious in the fray. 

While thus the peerage in the games contends, 
In act to speak, Laodamas ascends. 

" O friends (he cries), the stranger seems well skill'd 
To try the illustrious labors of the field : 
I deem him brave : then grant the brave man's claim, 
Invite the hero to his share of fame. 
'What nervous arms he boasts! how firm his tread! 
His limbs how turn'd ! how broad his shoulders spread! 
By age unbroke ! but all-consuming care 
Destroys perhaps the strength that time would spare : 
Dire is the ocean, dread in all its forms ! 
Man must decay when man contends with storms." 

" Well hast thou spoke (Euryalus replies) : 
Thine is the guest, invite him thou to rise." 



THE ODYSSEY, |BooK VIII. 



Swift as the word, advancing from the crowd, 
He made obeisance, and thus spoke aloud : 

"Vouchsafes the reverend stranger to display 
His manly worth, and share the glorious day ? 
Father, arise ! for thee thy port proclaims 
Expert to conquer in the solemn games. 
To fame arise ! for what more fame can yield 
Than the swift race, or conflict of the field ? 
Steal from corroding care one transient day 
To glory give the space thou hast to stay ; 
Short is the time, and lo! e'en now the gales 
Call thee aboard, and stretch the swelling sails." 

To whom with sighs Ulysses gave reply : 
" Ah why the ill-suiting pastime must I try ? 
To gloomy care my thoughts alone are free ; 
111 the gay sports with troubled hearts agree : 
Sad from my natal hour my days have ran, 
A much-afflicted, much-enduring man ! 
Who, suppliant to the king and peers, implores 
A speedy voyage to his native shores." 

" Wide wanders, Laodam, thy erring tongue, 
The sports of glory to the brave belong 
(Retorts Euryalus) ; he boasts no claim 
Among the great, unlike the sons of Fame. 
A wandering merchant he frequents the main : 
Some mean seafarer in pursuit of gain : 
Studious of freight, in naval trade well skill'd, 
But dreads the athletic labors of the field." 

Incensed, Ulysses with a frown replies : 
" O forward to proclaim thy soul unwise ! 
With partial hands the gods their gifts dispense : 
Some greatly think, some speak with manly sense ; 
Here Heaven an elegance of form denies, 
But wisdom the defect of form supplies : 
This man with energy of thought controls, 
And steals with modest violence our souls ; 
He speaks reservedly, but he speaks with force, 
Nor can one word be changed but for a worse ; 
In public more than mortal he appears, 
And, as he moves, the gazing crowd reveres : 
While others, beauteous as the ethereal kind, 
The nobler portion want, a knowing mind. 
In outward show Heaven gives thee to excel, 
But Heaven denies the praise of thinking well. 
Ill bear the brave a rude ungovern'd tongue, 
And, youth, my generous soul resents the wrong; 
bkill'd in heroic exercise, I claim 



BOOK VIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 



A post of honor with the sons of Fame. 

Such was my boast while vigor crown'd my days, 

Now care surrounds me, and my force decays; 

Inured a melancholy part to bear, 

In scenes of death, by tempest and by war. 

Yet thus by woes impair'd, no more I waive 

To prove the hero slander stings the brave." 

Then, striding forward with a furious bound, 
He wrench'd a rocky fragment from the ground, 
By far more ponderous, and more huge by far, 
Than what Phaeacia's sons discharged in air. 
Fierce from his arm the enormous load he flings ; 
Sonorous through the shaded air it sings ; 
Couch'd to the earth, tempestuous as it flies. 
The crowd gaze upward while it cleaves the skies. 
Beyond all marks, with many a giddy round 
Down-rushing, it upturns a hill of ground. 

That instant Pallas, bursting from a cloud, 
Fix'd a distinguished mark, and cried aloud: 

" E'en he who, sightless, wants his visual ray 
May by his touch alone award the day: 
Thy signal throw transcends the utmost bound 
Of every champion by a length of ground : 
Securely bid the strongest of the train 
Arise to throw ; the strongest throws in vain." 

She spoke : and momentary mounts the sky : 
The friendly voice Ulysses hears with joy. 
Then thus aloud (elate with decent pride) ; 
" Rise, ye Phaeacians, try your force (he cried) : 
If wi h this throw the strongest caster vie, 
Still, further still, I bid the discus fly. 
Stand forth, ye champions, who the gauntlet wield, 
Or ye, the swiftest racers of the field ! 
Stand forth, ye wrestlers, who these pastimes grace ! 
I wield the gauntlet, and I run the race. 
In such heroic games I yield to none, 
Or yield to brave Laodamas alone : 
Shall I with brave Laodamas contend ? 
A friend is sacred, and I style him friend. 
Ungenerous were the man, and base of heart, 
Who takes the kind, and pays the ungrateful part: 
Chiefly the man, in foreign realms confined, 
Base to his friend, to his own interest blind : 
All, all your heroes I this day defy ; 
Give me a man that we our might may try. 
Expert in every art, I boast the skill 
To give the feather'd arrow wings to kill ; 



THE ODYSSEY. [BooK VIII. 



Should a whole host at once discharge the bow, 

My well-aimed shaft with death prevents the foe : 

Alone superior in the field of Troy, 

Great Philoctetes taught the shaft to fly. 

From all the sons of earth unrivall'd praise 

I justly claim ; but yield to better days, 

To those famed days when great Alcides rose, 

And Eurytus, who bade the gods be foes 

(Vain Eurytus, whose art became his crime,* 

Swept from the earth, he perish'd in his prime: 

Sudden the irremeable way he trod, 

Who boldly durst defy the bowyer god). 

In fighting fields as far the spear I throw 

As flies an arrow from the well-drawn bow. 

Sole in the race the contest I decline, 

Stiff are my weary joints, and I resign ; 

By storms and hunger worn : age well may fail. 

When storms and hunger doth at once assail." 

Abash'd, the numbers hear the godlike man, 
Till great Alcinoiis mildly thus began : 

" Well hast thou spoke, and well thy generous tongue 
With decent pride refutes a public wrong: 
Warm are thy words, but warm without offence ; 
Fear only fools, secure in men of sense ; 
Thy worth is known. Then hear our country's claim, 
And bear to heroes our heroic fame : 
In distant realms our glorious deeds disj liy, 
Repeat them frequent in the genial day; 
When, blest with ease, thy woes and wanderings end, 
Teach them thy consort, bid thy sons attend ; 
How, loved of Jove, he crown 'd our sires with praise, 
How we their offspring dignify our race. 

" Let other realms the deathful gauntlet wield, 
Or boast the glories of the athletic field : 
We in. the course unrivall'd speed display, 
Or through cerulean billows plough the way ; 
To dress, to dance, to sing, our sole delight, 
The feast or bath by. day, and love by night : 
Rise, then, ye skill'd in measures ; let him bear 
Your fame to men that breathe a distant air; 
And faithful say, to you the powers belong 
To race, to sail, to dance, to chant the song. 

" But, herald, to the palace swift repair, 
And the soft lyre to grace our pastimes bear. 

Vain Ettrytut. He was king of CEchaha, and defied even Hercules to shoot 
with a more certain aim than himself, offering his daughter as the prize of victory. 
Hercules proved successful. 



BOOK VIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 113 

Swift at the word, obedient to the king, 
The herald flies the tuneful lyre to bring. 
Up rose nine seniors, chosen to survey 
The future games, the judges of the day. 
With instant care they mark a spacious round, 
And level for the dance the allotted ground : 
The herald bears the lyre ; intent to play, 
The bard advancing meditates the lay. 
Skill'd in the dance, tall youths, a blooming band, 
Graceful before the heavenly minstrel stand: 
Light-bounding from the earth, at once they rise, 
Their feet half-viewless quiver in the skies : 
Ulysses gazed, astonish 'd to survey 
The glancing splendors as their sandals play. 
Meantime the bard, alternate to the strings, 
The loves of Mars and Cytherea sings;* 
How the stern god, enamour'd with her charms, 
Clasp'd the gay panting goddess in his arms, 
By bribes seduced ; and how the sun, whose eye 
Views the broad heavens, disclosed the lawless joy. 
Stung to the soul, indignant through the skies 
To his black forge vindictive Vulcan flies : 
Arrived, his sinewy arms incessant place 
The eternal anvil on the massy base. 
A wondrous net he labors, to betray 
The wanton lovers, as entwined they lay, 
Indissolubly strong ! Then instant bears 
To his immortal dome the finish'd snares: 
Above, below, around, with art dispread, 
The sure inclosure folds the genial bed : 
Whose texture even the search of gods deceives, 
Thin as the filmy threads the spider weaves. 
Then, as withdrawing from the starry bowers, 
He feigns a journey to the Lemnian shores, 
His favorite isle : observant Mars descries 
His wish'd recess, and to the goddess flies ; 
He glows, he burns, the fair-hair'd queen of love 
Descends, smooth gliding from the courts of Jove, 
Gay blooming in full charms : her hand he press'd 
With eager joy, and with a sigh address'd : 

"Come, my beloved ! and taste the soft delights: 
Come, to repose the genial bed invites : 
Thy absent spouse, neglectful of thy charms, 
Prefers his barbarous Sinthians to thy arms ! " f 

* Cytherea, Venus. 

t For an account of the Sinthians, see note, book i., p. 69 of the I '.M<!. 
8 



H4 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VIII. 

Then, nothing loth, the enamor'd fair he led, 
And sunk transported on the conscious bed. 
Down rush'd the toils, inwrapping as they lay 
The careless lovers in their wanton play : 
In vain they strive; the entangling snares deny 
(Inextricably firm) the power to fly. 
Warn'd by the god who sheds the' golden day, 
Stern Vulcan homeward treads the starry way: 
Arrived, he sees, he grieves, with rage he burns ; 
Full horribly he roars, his voice all heaven returns. 

" O Jove (he cried) O all ye powers above, 
See the lewd dalliance of the queen of love ! 
Me, awkward me, she scorns ; and yields her charms 
To that fair lecher, the strong god of arms. 
If I am lame, that stain my natal hour 
By fate imposed ; such me my parent bore. 
Why^was 1 born ? See how the wanton lies ! 
Oh sight tormenting to a husband's eyes ! 
But yet, I trust, this once e'en Mars would fly 
His fair-one's arms he thinks her, once, too nigh. 
But there remain, ye guilty, in my power, 
Till Jove refunds his shameless daughter's dower, 
Too dear I prized a fair enchanting face : 
Beauty unchaste is beauty in disgrace." 

Meanwhile the gods the dome of Vulcan throng ; 
Apollo comes, and Neptune comes along ; 
With these gay Hermes trod the starry plain 
But modesty withheld the goddess train. 
All heaven beholds, imprison'd as they lie, 
And unextinguish'd laughter shakes the sky. 
Then mutual, thus they spoke : " Behold on wrong 
Swift vengeance waits ; and art subdues the strong ! 
Dwells there a god on all the Olympian brow 
More swift than Mars, and more than Vulcan slow ? 
Yet Vulcan conquers, and the god of arms 
Must pay the penalty for lawless charms." 

Thus serious they ; but he who gilds the skies, 
The gay Apollo, thus to Hermes cries : 
' Wouldst thou enchain'd like Mars, O Hermes, lie, 
And bear the shame like Mars to share the joy ? " 

" O envied shame ! (the smiling youth rejoin'd ;) 
And thrice the chains, and thrice more firmly bind ; 
Gaze all ye gods, and every goddess gaze, 
Yet eager would I bless the sweet disgrace." 

Loud laugh the rest, e'en Neptune laughs aloud, 
Yet sues importunate to loose the god : 
" And free (he cries), O Vulcan ! free from shame 



BOOK VIII. 1 THE ODYSSEY. 115 

Thy captives ! I ensure the penal claim." 

" Will Neptune (Vulcan then) the faithless trust ? 
He suffers who gives surety for the unjust : 
But say, if that lewd scandal of the sky, 
To liberty restored, perfidious fly ; 
Say, wilt thou bear the mulct ? " He instant cries, 
" The mulct I bear, if Mars perfidious flies." 

To whom appeased : " No more I urge delay ; 
When Neptune sues, my part is to obey." 
Then to the snares his force the god applies ; 
They burst ; and Mars to Thrace indignant flies 
To the soft Cyprian shores the goddess moves, 
To visit Paphos and her blooming groves, 
Where to the Power an hundred altars rise, 
And breathing odors scent the balmy skies ; 
Concealed she bathes in consecrated bowers, 
The graces unguents shed, ambrosial showers, 
Unguents that charm the gods ! she last assumes 
Her wondrous robes ; and full the goddess blooms. 

Thus sung the bard ; Ulysses hears with joy, 
And loud applauses rend the vaulted sky. 

Then to the sports his sons the king commands, 
Each blooming youth before the monarch stands, 
In dance unmatch'd ! A wondrous ball is brought 
(The work of Polypus, divinely wrought) ; 
This youth with strength enormous bids it fly, 
And bending backward whirls it to the sky ; 
His brother, springing with an active bound, 
At distance intercepts it from the ground. 
The ball dismissed, in dance they skim the strand, 
Turn and return, and scarce imprint the sand. 
The assembly gazes with astonished eyes, 
And sends in shouts applauses to the skies. 

Then thus Ulysses : " Happy king, whose name 
The brightest shines in all the rolls of fame ! 
In subjects happy ! with surprise I gaze ; 
Thy praise was just ; their skill transcends thy praise." 

Pleas'd with his people's fame, the monarch hears, 
And thus benevolent accosts the peers : 
" Since wisdom's sacred guidance he pursues, 
Give to the stranger-guest a stranger's dues : 
Twelve princes in our realm dominion share, 
O'er whom supreme, imperial power I bear : 
Bring gold, a pledge of love : a talent bring, 
A vest, a robe, and imitate your king. 
Be swift to give : that he this night may share 
The social feast of joy, with joy sincere. 



Ii6 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VIII. 

And thou, Euryalus, redeem thy wrong ; 

A generous heart repairs a slanderous tongue." 

The assenting peers, obedient to the king 
In haste their heralds send the gifts to bring. 
Then thus Euryalus : " O prince, whose sway 
Rules this.bless'd realm, repentant I obey ! 
Be his this sword, whose blade of brass displays 
A ruddy gleam ; whose hilt a silver blaze ; 
Whose ivory sheath, inwrought with curious pride, 
Adds graceful terror to the wearer's side." 

He said, and to his hand the sword consign'd : 
" And if (he cried) my words affect thy mind, 
Far from thy mind those words, ye whirlwinds, bear, 
And scatter them, ye storms, in empty air ! 
Crown, O ye heavens, with joy his peaceful hours, 
And grant him to his spouse, and native shores ! " 

*' And blest be thou, my friend (Ulysses cries), 
Crown him with every joy, ye favoring skies ! 
To thy calm hours continued peace afford, 
And never, never mayst thou want this sword." 

He said, and o'er his shoulder flung the blade. 
Now o'er the earth ascends the evening shade : 
The precious gifts the illustrious heralds bear, 
And to the court the embodied peers repair. 
Before the queen Alcinoiis' sons unfold 
The vests, the robes, and heaps of shining gold ; 
Then to the radiant thrones they move in state : 
Aloft, the king in pomp imperial sate. 

Thence to the queen : " O partner of our reign, 
O soul beloved ! command thy menial train 
A polish'd chest and stately robes to bear, 
And healing waters for the bath prepare ; 
That, bathed, our guest may bid his sorrows cease, 
Hear the sweet song, and taste the feast in peace. 
A bowl that flames with gold, of wondrous frame, 
Ourself we give, memorial of our name ; 
To raise in offerings to almighty Jove, 
And every god that treads the courts above." 

Instant the queen, observant of the king, 
Commands her train a spacious vase to bring, 
The spacious vase with ample streams suffice, 
Heap the high wood, and bid the flames arise. 
The flames climb round it with a fierce embrace, 
The fuming waters bubble o'er the blaze. 
Herself the chest prepares : in order roll'd 
The robes, the vests are ranged, and heaps of gold : 
And adding a rich dress inwrought with art, 



BOOK VIII.] THE ODYSSEY. "7 

A gift expressive of her bounteous heart. 
Thus spoke to Ithacus : " To guard with bands 
Insolvable these gifts, thy care demands ; 
Lest, in thy slumbers on the watery main, 
The hand of rapine make our bounty vain." 

Then bending with full force around he roll'd 
A labyrinth of bands in fold on fold, 
Closed with Circaean art. A train attends 
Around the bath : the bath the king ascends 
(Untasted joy, since that disastrous hour, 
He sail'd ill-fated from Calypso's bower) ; 
Where, happy as the gods that range the sky, 
He feasted every sense with every joy. 
He bathes ; the damsels, with officious toil, 
Shed sweets, shed unguents, in a shower of oil : 
Then o'er his limbs a gorgeous robe he spreads, 
And to the feast magnificently treads. 
Full where the dome its shining valves expands, 
Nausicaa blooming as a goddess stands ; 
With wondering eyes the hero she survey'd, 
And graceful thus began the royal maid : 

" Hail, godlike stranger ! and' when heaven restores 
To thy fond wish thy long-expected shores, 
This ever grateful in remembrance bear : 
To me thou owest, to me, the vital air." 

" O royal maid ! (Ulysses straight returns) 
Whose worth the splendors of thy race adorns, 
So may dread Jove (whose arm in vengeance forms* 
The writhen bolt, and blackens heavens with storms), 
Restore me safe, through weary wanderings toss'd, 
To my dear country's ever-pleasing coast, 
As while the spirit in this bosom glows, 
To thee, my goddess, I address my vows ; 
My life, thy gift I boast ! " He said, and sate 
Fast by Alcinoiis on a throne of state. 

Now each partakes the feast, the wine prepares, 
Portions the food, and each his portion shares. 
The bard a herald guides ; the gazing throng 
Pay low obeisance as he moves along : 
Beneath a sculptured arch he sits enthroned, 

* So may dread Jove. Coleridge, p. 236, remarks that, " in the Odyssey the 
action of Jupiter is faint and partial ; he says but little, and directs still less ; once or 
twice he appears indistinctly, and for a brief space, and at a remote distance from the 
earth and its affairs ; and throughout these passages, and indeed throughout the poem, 
the governing supremacy of Jupiter is less striking, and the individual personality of 
the gods less sensible, whilst something of the blissful inactivity of an Epicurean 
heaven seems to have become the portion of all the fierce and ever-restless divinities 
of the Iliad." 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK VIII. 



The peers encircling form an awful round. 
Then, from the chine, Ulysses carves with art 
Delicious food, an honorary part:* 
" This, let the master of the lyre receive, 
A pledge of love ! 'tis all a wretch can give. 
Lives there a man beneath the spacious skies 
Who sacred honors to the bard denies ? 
The Muse the bard inspires, exalts his mind ; 
The Muse indulgent loves the harmonious kind." 

The -herald to his hand the charge conveys, 
Not fond of flattery, nor unpleasecl with praise. 

When now the rage of hunger was allay'd, 
Thus to the lyrist wise Ulysses said : 
" O more than man ! thy soul the muse inspires, 
Or Phoebus animates with all his fires : 
For who, by Phoebus uninform'd, could know 
The woe of Greece, and sing so well the woe ? 
Just to the tale, as present at the fray, 
Or taught the labors of the dreadful day : 
The song recalls past horrors to my eyes, 
And bids proud Ilion from her ashes rise. 
Once more harmonious strike the sounding string, 
The Epaean fabric, framed by Pallas, sing : f 
How stern Ulysses, furious to destroy, 
With latent heroes sack'd imperial Troy. 
If faithful thoU record the tale of Fame, 
The god himself inspires thy breast with flame : 
And mine shall be the task henceforth to raise 
In every land thy monument of praise." 

Full of the god he raised his lofty strain : 
How the Greeks rush'd tumultuous to the main; 
How blazing tents illumined half the skies, 
While from the shores the winged navy flies ; 
How e'en in Ilion's walls, in deathful bands, 
Came the stern Greeks by Troy's assisting hands : 
All Troy up-heaved the steed ; of differing mind, 
Various the Trojans counseled : part consign'd 
The monster to the sword, part sentence gave 
To plunge it headlong in the whelming wave ; 
The unwise award to lodge it in the towers, 
An offering sacred to the immortal powers : 
The unwise prevail, they lodge it in the walls, 
And by the gods' decree proud Ilion falls : 



* So in the Iliad we find the chine allotted to Ajax, as the most honorable ihare 
of the feast. 

t The Efieean fabric, that is, the giant horse, made by Epeus. See note on the 
fourth book. 



BOOK Vlil.j THE OD \SSEY. 119 

Destruction enters in the treacherous wood, 
And vengeful slaughter, fierce for human blood. 

He sung the Greeks stern-issuing from the steed, 
How Ilion burns, how all her fathers bleed : 
How to thy dome, Deiphobus ! ascends 
The Spartan king ; how Ithacus attends 
(Horrid as Mars) ; and how with dire alarms 
He fights subdues, for Pallas strings his arms. 

Thus while he sung, Ulysses' griefs renew, 
Tears bathed his cheeks, and tears the ground bedew: 
As some fond matron views in mortal fight 
Her husband falling in his country's right; 
Frantic through clashing swords she runs, she flies, 
As ghastly pale he groans, and faints and dies ; 
Close to his breast she grovels on the ground, 
And bathes with floods of tears the gaping wound : 
She cries, she shrieks : the fierce insulting foe 
Relentless mocks her violence of woe : 
To chains condemn'd, as wildly she deplores ; 
A widow, and a slave on foreign shores. 

So from the sluices of Ulysses' eyes 
Fast fell the tears, and sighs succeeded sighs : 
Conceal'd he griev'd : the king observed alone 
, The silent tear, and heard the secret groan ; 
Then to the bard aloud : " O cease to sing, 
Dumb be thy voice, and mute the tuneful string; 
To every note his tears responsive flow, 
And his great heart heaves with tumultuous woe; 
Thy lay too deeply moves : then cease the lay, 
And o'er the banquet every heart be gay : 
This social right demands : for him the sails, 
Floating in air, invite the impelling gales : 
His are the gifts of love : the wise and good 
Receive the stranger as a brother's blood. 

" But, friend, discover faithful what I crave ; 
Artful concealment ill-becomes the brave : 
Say what thy birth, and what the name you bore, 
Imposed by parents in the natal hour ? 
(For from the natal hour distinctive names, 
One common right, the great and lowly claims :) 
Say from what city, from what regions toss'd, 
And what inhabitants those regions boast? 
So shall thou instant reach the realm assign'd, 
In wondrous ships, self-moved, instinct with mind ; 
No helm secures their cdurse, no pilot guides ; 
Like man intelligent, they plough the tides, 
Conscious of every coast and every bay, 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXIII. 



That lies beneath the sun's all-seeing ray; 

Though clouds and darkness veil the encumber'd sky, 

Tearless through darkness and through clouds they fly; 

Though tempests rage, though rolls the swelling main, 

The seas may roll, the tempests rage in vain ; 

E'en the stern god that o'~r the waves presides, 

Safe as they pass, and safe repass the tides, 

With fury burns ; while careless they convey 

Promiscuous every guest to every bay. 

These ears have heard my royal sire disclose 

A dreadful story, big with future woes ; .... 

How Neptune raged, and how, by his command, 

Tirm rooted in a surge a ship should stand 

A monument of wrath ; how mound on mound 

Should bury these proud towers beneath the ground. 

But this the gods may frustrate or fulfil, 

As suits the purpose of the Eternal Will. 

But say through what waste regions hast thou stray'd, 

What customs noted, and what coasts survey'd ; 

Possess'd by wild barbarians fierce in arms, 

Or men whose bosom tender pity warms ? 

Say why the fate of Troy awaked thy cares, 

Why heaved thy bosom, and why flow'd thy tears ? 

Just are the ways of Heaven : from Heaven proceed 

The woes of man ; Heaven doom'd the Greeks to bleed, 

A theme of future song ! Say, then, if slain 

Some dear-loved brother press'd the Phrygian plain ? 

Or bled some friend, who bore a brother's part, 

And claim'd by merit, not by blood, the heart ?" 



BOOK IX. I THE ODYSSEY. 



BOOK IX. 



ARGUMENT. 

THB ADVENTURES OF THE CJCONS, LOTOPHAGI, AND CYCLOPS. 

Ulysses begins the relation of his adventures ; how, after the destruction of Troy, 
he with his companions made an incursion on the Cicons, by whom they were 
repulsed ; and, meeting with a storm, were driven to the coast of the Lotophagi. 
From thence they sailed to the land of the Cyclops, whose manners and situation 
are particularly characterized. The giant Polyphemus and his cave described ; 
the usage Ulysses and his companions met with there ; and, lastly, the method 
and artifice by which he escaped. 

THEN thus Ulysses : " Thou whom first in sway, 

As first in virtue, these thy realms obey ; 

How sweet the products of a peaceful reign ! 

The heaven-taught poet, and enchanting strain ; 

The well-fill'd palace, the perpetual feast, 

A land rejoicing, and a people bless'd ! 

How goodly seems it ever to employ 

Man's social days in union and in joy; 

The plenteous board high-heap'd with cates divine, 

And o'er the foaming bowl the laughing wine ! 

" Amid these joys, why seeks thy mind to know 
The unhappy series of a wanderer's woe ? 
Remembrance sad, whose image to review, 
Alas ! must open all my wounds anew ! 
And oh, what first, what last, shall I relate, 
Of woes unnumber'd sent by Heaven and Fate? 

" Know first the man (though now a wretch distress'd) 
Who hopes thee, monarch, for his future guest. 
Behold Ulysses ! no ignoble name. 
Earth sounds my wisdom, and high heaven my fame. 

" My native soil is Ithaca the fair, 
Where high Neritus waves his woods in air ; * 
Dulichium, Same, and Zacynthus crown'd 
With shady mountains, spread their isles around 
(These to the north and night's dark regions run, 
Those to Aurora and the rising sun). 
Low lies our isle, yet bless'd in fruitful stores ; 
Strong are her sons, though rocky are her shores ; 

Hifh Neritus, that is, far distant, for the sea at a distance seems to rise. 



2 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IX. 

And none, ah none so lovely to my sight, 

Of all the lands that heaven o'erspreads with light 

In vain Calypso long constrain'd my stay, 

With sweet, reluctant, amorous delay; 

With all her charms as vainly Circe strove, 

And added magic to secure my love. 

In pomps or joys, the palace or the grot, 

My country's -image never was forgot ; 

My absent parents rose before my sight, 

And distant lay contentment and delight. 

" Hear, then, the woes which mighty Jove ordain'd 
To wait my passage from the Trojan land. 
The winds, from Ilion to Cicons' shore, 
Beneath cold Ismarus our vessels bore. 
We boldly landed on the hostile place, 
And sack'd the city, and destroy'd the race, 
Their wives made captive, their possessions shared, 
And every soldier found a like reward. 
I then advised to fly ; not so the rest, 
Who stay'd to revel, and prolong the feast : 
The fatted sheep and sable bulls they slay. 
And bowls flow round, and riot wastes the day. 
Meantime the Cicons, to their holds retired, 
Call on the Cicons, with new fury fired ; 
With early morn the gather'd country swarms, 
And all the continent is bright with arms ; 
Thick as the budding leaves or rising flowers 
O'r spread the land, when spring descends in showers : 
All expert soldiers, skill'd on foot to dare, 
Or from the bounding courser urge the war. 
Now fortune changes (so the Fates ordain) ; 
Our hour was come to taste our share of pain. 
Close at the ships the bloody fight began, 
Wounded they wound, and man expires on man. 
Long as the morning sun increasing bright 
O'er heaven's pure azure spreads the growing light, 
Promiscuous death the form of war confounds, 
Each adverse battle gored with equal wounds ; 
But when his evening wheels o'erliung the main,* 
Then conquest crown'd the fierce Ciconian train. 
Six brave companions from each ship we lost, 
The rest escape in haste, and quit the coast, 
With sails outspread we fly the unequal strife, 
Sad for their loss, but joyful of our life. 
Yet as we fled, our fellows' rites we paid, 

* His evening wheels. Literally, " when the oxen were loosed from labor." 



BOOK IX.] THE ODYSSEY. 123 

And thrice we call'd on each unhappy shade. 

" Meanwhile the god, whose hand the thunder forms, 
Drives clouds on clouds, and blackens heaven with storms : 
Wide o'er the waste the rage of Boreas sweeps, 
And night rush'd headlong on the shaded deeps. 
Now here, now there, the giddy ships are borne, 
And all the rattling shrouds in fragments torn. 
We furl'd the sail, we plied the laboring oar, 
Took down our masts, and row'd our ships to shore. 
Two tedious days and two long nights we lay, 
O'erwatch'd and batter'd in the naked bay. 
But the third morning when Aurora brings, 
We rear the masts, we spread the canvas wings ; 
Refresh'd and careless on the deck reclined, 
We sit, and trust the pilot and the wind. 
Then to my native country had I sail'd : 
But, the cape doubled, adverse winds prevail'd. 
Strong was the tide, which by the northern blast 
ImpelPd, our vessels on Cythera cast, 
Nine days our fleet the uncertain tempest bore 
Far in wide ocean, and from sight of shore : 
The tenth we touch'd, by various errors toss'd, 
The land of Lotus and the flowery coast. 
We climb'd the beach, and springs of water found, 
Then spread our hasty banquet on the ground. 
Three men were sent, deputed from the crew 
(A herald one) the dubious coast to view, 
And learn what habitants possess'd the place. 
Theywent, and found a hospitable race : 
Not prone to ill, nor strange to foreign guest, 
They eat, they drink, and nature gives the feast : 
The trees around them all their food produce ; 
Lotus the name ; divine, nectareous juice ! * 
(Thence call'd Lotophagi) ; which whoso tastes, 

* Lotus. A great difference of opinion has prevailed among the moderns as to 
what the ancients intended by the lotus : the history of it is mixed with fable, from 
passing through the hands of poets. Of the existence of a fruit growing spontaneously, 
furnishing the popular food of nations, there is no doubt, as it is mentioned by various 
authors of credit, and among the rest by Polyb. ap. Athen. M. 65, who appears to 
have seen it in the country of the Lotophagi. There appear to have been two distinct 
species of lotus, because Herodotus and Pliny describe a marked difference, the one 
being an aquatic plant, whose roots and seeds were eaten in E>;ypt, the other the 
fruit of a shrub on the sandv coast of Libya. Herod., 4. 177, m speaking ot the 
Libyan lotus, says that the fruit is of the size of the mastu, sweet like the date, and a 
kind of wine is made of it. Pliny, 13. 17, describes two different kinds, he one found 
near the Syrtes, the other in Egypt : the former he describes from Cor 
the fruit of a tree, as big as a bean, of a yellow color, sweet and pleasan 
the fruit was bruised and made into a kind of paste, and stored up for 
of wine was made from it, resembling mead, which would not keep 
Barker's Lempriere. 



. Nepos 
to the taste ; 
o<l ; a kind 
lany days. 



124 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IX. 

Insatiate riots in the sweet repasts, 
Nor other home, nor other care intends, 
But quits his house, his country, and his friends. 
The three we sent, from off the enchanting ground 
We dragg'd reluctant, and by force we bound : 
The rest in haste forsook the pleasing shore, 
Or, the charm tasted, had return'd no more. 
Now placed in order on their banks, they sweep 
The sea's smooth face, and cleave the hoary deep : 
With heavy hearts we labor through the tide, 
To coasts unknown, and oceans yet untried. 

" The land of Cyclops first, a savage kind. 
Nor tamed by manners, nor by laws confined : 
Untaught to plant, to turn the glebe, and sow, 
They all their products to free nature owe : 
The soil, untill'd, a ready harvest yields, 
With wheat and barley wave the golden fields : 
Spontaneous wines from weighty clusters pour, 
And Jove descends in each prolific shower. 
By these no statutes and no rights are known, 
No council held, no monarch fills the throne ; 
But high on hills, or airy cliffs, they dwell, 
Or deep in caves whose entrance leads to hell. 
Each rules his race, his neighbor not his care, 
Heedless of others, to his own severe. 

" Opposed to the Cyclopean coast, there lay 
An isle, whose hills their subject fields survey; 
Its name Lachaea, crown'd with many a grove, 
Where savage goats through pathless thickets rove : 
No needy mortals here, with hunger bold, 
Or wretched hunters through the wintry cold 
Pursue their flight ; but leave them safe to bound 
From hill to hill, o'er all the desert ground. 
Nor knows the soil to feed the fleecy care, 
Or feels the labors of the crooked share ; 
But uninhabited, untill'd, unsown, 
It lies, and breeds the bleating goat alone. 
For there no vessel with vermilion prore, 
Or bark of traffic, glides from shore to shore. 
The rugged race of savages, unskill'd 
The seas to traverse, or the ships to build, 
Gaze on the coast, nor cultivate the soil, 
Unlearn'd in all the industrious arts of toil. 
Yet here all products and all plants abound, 
Sprung from the fruitful genius of the ground ; 
Fields waving high with heavy crops are seen, 
And vines that flourish in eternal green. 



BOOK IX.] THE ODYSSEY. 125 

Refreshing meads along the murmuring main, 
And fountains streaming down the fruitful plain. 

" A port there is, inclosed on either side. 
Where ships may rest, unanchor'd and untied ; 
Till the glad mariners incline to sail, 
And the sea whitens with the rising gale. 
High at the head, from out the cavern'd rock, 
In living rills a gushing fountain broke ; 
Around it, and above, forever green, 
The busy alders form'd a shady scene ; 
Hither some favoring god, beyond our thought, 
Through all-surrounding shade our navy brought ; 
For gloomy night descended on the main, 
Nor glimmer'd Phcebe in the ethereal plain : 
But all unseen the clouded island lay, 
And all unseen the serge and rolling sea, 
Till safe we anchor'd in the shelter'd bay: 
Our sails we gather'd, cast our cables o'er, 
And slept secure along the sandy shore. 
Soon as again the rosy morning'shone, 
Reveal'd the landscape and the scene unknown, 
With wonder seized, we view the pleasing ground, 
And walk delighted, and expatiate round. 
Roused by the woodland nymphs at early dawn, 
The mountain goats came bounding o'er the lawn: 
In haste our fellows to the ships repair, 
For arms and weapons of the sylvan war ; 
Straight in three squadrons all our crew we part, 
And bend the bow, or wing the missile dart; 
The bounteous gods afford a copious prey, 
And nine fat goats each vessel bears away : 
The royal bark had ten. Our ships complete 
We thus supplied (for twelve were all the fleet). 

" Here, till the setting sun roll'd down the light, 
We sat indulging in the genial rite : 
Nor wines were wanting ; those from ample jars 
We drain'd, the prize of our Ciconian wars. 
The land of Cyclops lay in prospect near : 
The voice of goats and bleating flocks we hear, 
And from their mountains rising smokes appear. 
Now sunk the sun, and darkness cover'd o'er 
The face of things : along the sea-beat shore 
Satiate we slept : but. when the sacred dawn 
Arising glitter'd o'er the dewy lawn, 
I call'd my fellows, and these words address'd : 
' My dear associates, here indulge your rest; 
While, with my single ship, adventurous, I 



126 THE ODYSSEY. [BoOK IX. 

Go forth, the manners of yon men to try ; 
Whether a race unjust, of barbarous might, 
Rude and unconscious of a stranger's right; 
Or such who harbor pity in their breast, 
Revere the gods, and succor the distress'd.' 

"This said, I climb'd my vessel's lofty side ; 
My train obey'd me and the ship untied. 
In order seated on their banks, they sweep 
Neptune's smooth face, and cleave the yielding deep. 
When to the nearest verge of land we drew, 
Fast by the sea a lonely cave we view, 
High, and with darkening laurels covered o'er; 
Where sheep and goats lay slumbering round the shore : 
Near this, a fence of marble from the rock, 
Brown with overarching pine and spreading oak. 
A giant shepherd here his flock maintains 
Far from the rest, and solitary reigns, 
In shelter thick of horrid shade reclined ; 
And gloomy mischiefs labor in his mind. 
A form enormous ! far unlike the race 
Of human birth, in stature r or in face ; 
As some lone mountain's monstrous growth he stood, 
Crown'd with rough thickets, and a nodding wood. 
I left my vessel at the point of land, 
And close to guard it, gave our crew command : 
With only twelve, the boldest and the best, 
I seek the adventure, and forsake the rest. 
Then took a goatskin filled with precious wine, 
The gift of Maron of Evantheus' line 
(The priest of Phoebus at the Ismarian shrine). 
In sacred shade his honor'd mansion stood 
Amidst Apollo's consecrated wood ; 
Him, and his house, Heaven moved my mind to save, 
And costly presents in return he gave ; 
Seven golden talents to perfection wrought, 
A silver bowl that held a copious draught, 
And twelve large vessels of unmingled wine, 
Mellifluous, undecaying, and divine ! 
Which now, some ages from his race conceal'd, 
The hoary sire in gratitude reveal'd. 
Such was' the wine : to quench whose fervent steam 
Scarce twenty measures from the living stream 
To cool one cup sufficed : the goblet crown'd 
Breathed aromatic fragrances around. 
Of this an ample vase we heaved aboard, 
And brought another with provisions stored. 
My soul foreboded I should find the bower 



BOOK IX.] THE ODYSSEY. 127 

Of some fell monster, fierce with barbarous power ; 
Some rustic wretch, who lived in Heaven's despite, 
Contemning laws, and trampling on the right. 
The cave we found, 1 nt vacant all within 
(His flock the giant tended on the green) : 
But round the grot we gaze; and all we view, 
In order ranged, our admiration drew : 
The bending shelves with loads of cheeses press'd, 
The folded flocks each separate from the rest 
(The larger here, and there the lesser lambs, 
The new-fallen young here bleating for their dams : 
The kid distinguished from the lambkin lies) : 
The cavern echoes with responsive cries. 
Capacious chargers all around were laid, 
Full pails, and vessels of the milking trade. 
With fresh provisions hence our fleet to store 
My friends advise me, and to quit the shore. 
Or drive a flock of sheep and goats away, 
Consult our safety, and put off to sea. 
Their wholesome counsel rashly I declined, 
Curious to view the man of monstrous kind, 
And try what social rites a savage lends : 
Dire rites, alas ! and fatal to my friends ! 

" Then first a fire we kindle, and prepare 
For his return with sacrifice and prayer; 
The loaden shelves afford us full repast ; 
We sit expecting. Lo ! he comes at last. 
Near half a forest on his back he bore, 
And cast the ponderous burden at the door. 
It thunder'd as it fell. We trembled then, 
And sought the deep recesses of the den. 
Now driven before him through the arching rock, 
Came tumbling, heaps on heaps, the unnumber'd flock : 
Big-udder'd ewes, and goats of female kind 
(The males were penn'd in outward courts behind); 
Then, heaved on high, a rock's enormous weight 
To the cave's mouth he roll'd, and closed the gate 
(Scarce twenty four-wheel'd cars, compact and strong, 
The massy load could bear, or roll along). 
He next betakes him to his evening cares, 
And, sitting down, to milk his flocks prepares ; 
Of half their udders eases first the dams, 
Then to the mother's teat submits the lambs ; 
Half the white stream to hardening cheese he press'd, 
And high in wicker-baskets heap'd : the rest, 
Reserved in bowls, supplied his nightly feast. 
His labor done, he fired the pile, that gave 



128 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IX. 

A sudden blaze, and lighted all the cave. 
We stand discover'd by the rising fires ; 
Askance the giant glares, and thus inquires : 

" ' What are ye, guests ? on what adventure, say, 
Thus far ye wander through the watery way ? 
Pirates perhaps, who seek through seas unknown 
The lives of others, and expose your own? ' 

" His voice like thunder through the cavern sounds : 
My bold companions thrilling fear confounds, 
Appall'd at sight of more than mortal man ! 
At length, with heart recover'd, I began : 

" ' From Troy's famed fields, sad wanderers o'er the main, 
Behold the relics of the Grecian train ; 
Through various seas, by various perils toss'd, 
And forced by storms, unwilling on your coast ; 
Far from our destined course and native land, 
Such was our fate, and such high Jove's Command ! 
Nor what we are befits us to disclaim, 
Atrides' friends (in arms a mighty name), 
Who taught proud Troy and all her sons to bow; 
Victors of late, but humble suppliants now ! 
Low at thy knee thy succor we implore; 
Respect us, human, and relieve us, poor. 
At least, some hospitable gift bestow, 
'Tis what the happy to the unhappy owe : 
'Tis what the gods require : those gods revere ; 
The poor and stranger are their constant care ; 
To Jove their cause, and their revenge belongs, 
He wanders with them, and he feels their wrongs." 

" ' Fools that ye are (the savage thus replies, 
His inward fury blazing in his eyes), 
Or strangers, distant far from our abodes, 
To bid me reverence or regard the gods. 
Know then, we Cyclops are a race above * 
Those air-bred people, and their goat-nursed Jove ; 
And learn, our power proceeds with thee and thine, 
Not as he wills, but as ourselves incline. 
But answer, the good ship that brought ye o'er, 
Where lies she anchor'd ? near or off the shore ?' 

* Cyclopf. This is unquestionably the most amusing story in the Odyssey, and 
" Sinbad the Sailor" will suggest a dozen parallels to every reader. It lias formed the 
ground-work of an amusing satiric drama, by Euripides. Colonel Mure observes 
that " This adventure is still the best extant specimen of political gigantophonia, and 
the prototype of all or most of those which have since acquired celebrity. It exhibits 
that happy mixture of the serious and burlesque, the terrible and visible, which consti- 
tutes popular romance. The more delicate of its humorous ingredients is the com- 
bination, in the character of Polyphemus, with his flocks, milk, butter, and cheese, of 
the primitive simplicity of pastoral life with the ferocity of the giant and cannibal. 
V. i. p. 399. 



BOOK IX.] THE ODYSSEY. 129 

"Thus he. His meditated fraud I find 
(Versed in the turns of various human-kind) : 
And, cautious thus : ' Against a dreadful rock, 
Fast by your shore the gallant vessel broke. 
Scarce with these few I 'scaped ; of all my train, 
Whom angry Neptune whelm'd beneath the main : 
The scattered wreck the winds blew back again.' 

" He answered with his deed : his bloody hand 
Snatch'd two, unhappy ! of my martial band; 
And dash'd like dogs against the stony floor : 
And fierce devours it like a mountain beast : 
The pavement swims with brains and mingled gore. 
Torn limb from limb, he spreads his horrid feast, 
He sucks the marrow, and the blood he drains, 
Nor entrails, flesh, nor solid bone remains. 
We see the death from which we cannot move, 
And humbled groan beneath the hand of Jove. 
His ample maw with human carnage fill'd, 
A milky deluge next the giant swill'd ; 
Then stretch'd in length o'er half the cavern'd rock, 
Lay senseless, and supine, amidst the flock. 
To seize the time, and with a sudden wound 
To fix the slumbering monster to the ground, 
My soul impels me ! and in act I stand 
To draw the sword ; but wisdom held my hand. 
A deed so rash had finished all our fate, 
No mortal forces from the lofty gate 
Could roll the rock.- In hopeless grief we lay, 
And sigh, expecting the return of day. 
Now did the rosy-fingered morn arise. 
And shed her sacred light along the skies; 
He wakes, he lights the fire, he milks the dams, 
And to the mother's teats submits the lambs. 
The task thus finish'd of his morning hours, 
Two more he snatches, murders, and devours. 
Then pleased, and whistling, drives his flock before, 
Removes the rocky mountain from the door, 
And shuts again : with equal ease disposed, 
As a light quiver's lid is oped and closed. 
His giant voice the echoing region fills : 
His flocks, obedient, spread o'er all the hills. 

" Thus left behind, even in the last despair 
I thought, devised, and Pallas heard my prayer. 
Revenge, and doubt, and caution, work'd my breast ; 
But this of many counsels seem'd the best : 
The monster's club .within the cave I spied, 
A tree of stateliest growth, and yet undried, 

9 



13 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK IX. 

Green from the wood ; of height and bulk so vast, 

The largest ship might claim it for a mast. 

This shorten'd of its top, I gave my train 

A fathom's length, to shape it and to plane ; 

The narrower end I sharpen'd to a spire, 

Whose point we harden'd with the force of fire, 

And hid it in the dust that strew'd the cave, 

Then to my few companions, bold and brave, 

Proposed, who first the venturous deed should try, 

In the broad orbit of his monstrous eye 

To plunge the brand and twirl the pointed wood, 

When slumber next should tame the man of blood. 

Just as I wished, the lots were cast on four: 

Myself the fifth. We stand and wait the hour. 

He comes with evening: all his fleecy flock 

Before him march, and pour into the rock : 

Not one, or male or female, stayed behind 

(So fortune chanced, or so some god designed) ; 

Then heaving high the stone's unwieldy weight, 

He roll'd it on the cave and closed the gate. 

First down he sits to milk the woolly dams, 

And then permits their udder to the lambs. 

Next seized two wretches more, and headlong cast, 

Brain'd on the rock ; his second dire repast. 

I then approach'd him reeking with their gore, 

And held the brimming goblet foaming o'er ; 

' Cyclop ! since human flesh has been thy feast, 

Now drain this goblet, potent to digest; 

Know hence what treasures in our ship we lost, 

And what rich liquors other climates boast. 

We to thy shore the precious freight shall bear, 

If home thou send us and vouchsafe to spare. 

But oh ! thus furious, thirsting thus for gore, 

The sons of men shall ne'er approach thy shore, 

And never shalt thou taste this nectar more.' 

" He heard, he took, and pouring down his throat, 
Delighted, swlll'd the large luxurious draught. 
' More ! give me more (he cried) : the boon be thine, 
Whoe'er thou art that bear'st celestial wine ! 
Declare thy name : not mortal is this juice, 
Such as the unbless'd Cyclopasan climes produce 
(Though sure our vine the largest cluster yields, 
And Jove's scorn'd thunder serves to drench our fields) ; 
But this descended from the bless'd abodes, 
A rill of nectar, streaming from the gods.' 

" He said, and greedy grasped the heady bowl, 
Thrice drained, and poured the deluge on his soul. 



BOOK IX.] THE ODYSSEY. 131 

His sense lay covered with the dozy fume ; 
While thus my fraudful speech I reassume. 
' Thy promised boon, O Cyclop ! now 1 claim, 
And'plead my title ; Noman is my name.* 
By that distinguish'd from my tender years, 
'Tis what my parents call me, and my peers.' 

" The giant then : ' Our promised grace receive, 
The hospitable boon we mean to give : 
When all thy wretched crew have felt my power, 
No man shall be the last I will devour.' 

" He said : then nodding v>ith the fumes of wine 
Droop'd his huge head, and snoring lay supine. 
His neck obliquely o'er his shoulders hung, 
Press'd with the weight of sleep that tames the strong: 
There belch'd the mingled streams of wine and blood, 
And human flesh, his indigested food. 
Sudden I stir the embers, and inspire 
With animating breath the seeds of fire ; 
Each drooping spirit with bold words repair, 
And urge my train the dreadful deed to dare, 
The stake now glow'd beneath the burning bed 
(Green as it was) and sparkled fiery red, 
Then forth the vengeful instrument I bring; 
With beating hearts my fellows form a ring. 
Urged by some present god, they swift let fall 
The pointed torment on his visual ball. 
Myself above them 'from a rising ground 
Guide the sharp stake, and twirl it round and round 
As when a shipwright stands his workmen o'er. 
Why ply the wimble, some huge beam to bore ; 
Urged on all hands, it nimbly spins about, 
The grain deep-piercing till it scoops it out : 
In his broad eve so whirls the fiery wood ; 
From the pierced pupil spouts the boiling blood ; 
Singed are his brows ; the scorching lids grow black; 
The' jelly bubbles, and the fibres crack. 
And as when armorers temper in the ford 
The keen-edged pole-axe, or the shining sword, 
The red-hot metal hisses in the lake, 
Thus in his eye-ball hiss'd the plunging stake. 
He sends a dreadful groan, the rocks around 
Through all their inmost winding caves resound. 
Scared we receded. Forth with frantic hand, 
He tore and dash'd on earth the gory brand : 
Then calls the Cyclops, all that round him dwell, 

* Nomati. The original is l/tis, that is, in nobody, like Utopia, nowhere. The 
pun kept up is sufficiently obvious. 



132 THE ODYSSEY, [BOOK IX. 

With voice like thunder, and a direful yell. 
From all their dens the one-eyed lace repair, 
From rifted rocks, and mountains bleak in air. 
All haste assembled, at his well-known roar, 
Inquire the cause, and crowd the cavern door. 

" ' What hurts thee, Polypheme ? what strange affright 
Thus breaks our slumbers, and disturbs the night ? 
Does any mortal, in the unguarded hour 
Of sleep oppress thee, or by fraud or power ? 
Or thieves insidious thy fair flock surprise ? ' 
Thus they : the Cyclop from his den replies : 

''Friends, Noman kills me: Noman, in the hour 
Of sleep, oppresses me with fraudful power.' 
' If no man hurt Ihee, but the hand divine 
Inflict disease, it fits thee to resign: 
To Jove or thy father Neptune pray,' 
The brethren cried, and instant strode away. 

"Joy touch'd my secret soul and conscious heart, 
Pleased with the effect of conduct and of art. 
Meantime the Cyclop, raging with his wound. 
Spreads his wide arms, and searches round and round: 
At last, the stone removing from the gate, 
With hands extended in the midst he sate : 
And search'd each passing sheep, and felt it o'er, 
Secure to seize us e'er we reach 'd the uoor 
(Such as his shallow wit he deem'd was mine) ; 
But secret I resolved the deep design : 
'Twas for our lives my laboring bosom wrought ; 
Each scheme I turn'd, and sharpen'd every thought? 
This way and that I cast to save my friends, 
Till one resolve my varying counsel ends. 

"Strong were the rams, with native purple fair, 
Well fed, and largest of the fleecy care. 
These, three and three, with osier bands we tied 
(The twining bands the Cyclop's bed supplied) ; 
The midmost bore a man, the outward two 
Secured each side : so bound we all the crew. 
One ram remained, the leader of the flock : 
In his deep fleece my grasping hands I lock, 
And fast beneath, in woolly curls inwove, 
There cling implicit, and confide in Jove. 
When rosy morning glimmer'd o'er the dales, 
He drove to pasture all the lusty males : 
The ewes still folded, with distended thighs 
Unmilk'd lay bleating in distressful cries. 
But heedless of those cares, with anguish stung, 
He felt their fleeces as they pass'd along . 



BOOK IX.] THE ODYSSEY. 133 

(Fool that he was), and let them safely go, 
All unsuspecting of their freight below. 

" The master ram at last approach'd the gate, 
Charged with his wool, and with Ulysses' fate. 
Him while he pass'cl, the monster blind bespoke: 
' What makes my ram the lag of all the flock ? 
First thou vvert wont to crop the flowery mead, 
First to the field and river's bank to lead, 
And first with stately step. at evening hour 
Thy fleecy fellows usher to their bower. 
Now far the last, with pensive pace and slow 
Thou movest, as conscious of thy master's woe ! 
Seest thou these lids that now unfold in vain ? 
(The deed of Noman and his wicked train !) 
Oh ! didst thou feel for thy afflicted lord, 
And would but fate the power of speech afford, 
Soon might'st thou tell me, where in secret here 
The dastard lurks, all trembling with his fear : 
Swung round and round, and dash'd from rock to rock, 
His battered brains should on the pavement smoke. 
No ease, no pleasure my sad heart receives, 
While such a monster as vile Noman lives,' 

" The giant spoke, and through the hollow rock 
Dismiss'd the ram, the father of the flock. 
No sooner freed, and through the inclosure pass'd, 
First I release myself, my fellows last : 
Fat sheep and goats in throngs we drive before, 
And reach our vessel on the winding shore. 
With joy the sailors view their friends return'd, 
And hail us living whom as dead they mourn'd. 
Big tears of transport stand in every eye : 
I check their fondness, and command to fly. 
Aboard in haste they heave the wealthy sheep, 
And snatch their oars, and rush into the deep. 

" Now off at sea, and from the shallows clear, 
As far as human voice could reach the ear, 
With taunts the distant giant I accost : 
' Hear me, O Cyclop ! hear, ungracious host! 
'Twas on no coward, no ignoble slave, 
Thou meditatest thy meaf in yonder cave ; 
But one, the vengeance fated from above 
Doom'd to inflict; the instrument of Jove. 
Thy barbarous breach of hospitable bands, 
The god, the god revenges by my hands.' 

{< These words the C\ clop's burning rage provoke ; 
From the tall hill he rends a pointed rock ; 
High o'er the billows flew the massy load, 



134 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK IX. 

And near the ship came thundering on the flood. 
It almost brush'd the helm, and fell before: 
The whole sea shook, and refluent beat the shore. 
The strong concussion on the heaving tide 
Roll'd back the vessel to the island's side : 
Again I shoved her off ; our fate to fly, 
Each nerve we stretch, and every oar we ply- 
Just 'scaped impending death, when now again 
We twice as far had furrow'd back the main, 
Once more I raised my voice ; my friends, afraid, 
With mild entreaties my design dissuade : 
' What boots the godless giant to provoke, 
Whose arm may sink us at a single stroke ? 
Already when the dreadful rock he threw, 
Old Ocean shook, and back his surges flew. 
The sounding voice directs his aim again ; 
The rock o'erwhelms us. and we 'scaped in vain.' 

" But I, of mind elate, and scorning fear, 
Thus with new taunts insult the monster's ear : 
* Cyclop ! if any, pitying thy disgrace. 
Ask, who disfigured thus that eyeless face ? 
Say 'twas Ulysses : 'twas his deed declare, 
Laertes' son, of Ithaca the fair ; 
Ulysses, far in fighting fields renown'd, 
Before whose arm Troy tumbled to the ground.' 

" The astonished savage with a roar replies : 
' O heavens ! oh faith of ancient prophecies ! 
This, Telemus Eurymedes foretold 
(The mighty seer who on these hills grew old ; 
Skill'd the dark fates of mortals to declare, 
And learn'd in all wing'd omens of the air) ; 
Long since he menaced, such was Fate's command ; 
And named Ulysses as the destined hand. 
I deem'd some godlike giant to behold, 
Or lofty hero, haughty, brave, and bold ; 
Not this weak pigmy-wretch, of mean design, 
Who, not by strength subdued me, but by wine. 
But come, accept our gifts, and join to pray 
Great Neptune's blessing on the watery way ; 
For his I am, and I the lineage own; 
The immortal father no less boasts the son. 
His power can heal me, and relight my eye; 
And only his, of all the gods on high.' 

" ' Oh ! could this arm (I thus aloud rejoin'd) 
From that vast bulk dislodge thy bloody mind, 
And send thee howling to the realms of night ! 
As sure as Neptune cannot give thee sight.' 



BOOK IX.] THE ODYSSEY. 135 



"Thus I ; while raging he repeats his cries, 
With hands uplifted to the starry skies ! 
' Hear me, O Neptune ; thou whose arms are hurl'd 
From shore to shore, and gird the solid world ; 
If thine I am, nor thou my birth disown, 
And if the unhappy Cyclop be thy son, 
Let not Ulysses breathe his native air, 
Laertes' son, of Ithaca the fair. 
If to review his country be his fate, 
Be it through toils and sufferings long and late; 
His lost companions let him first deplore ; 
Some vessel, not his own, transport him o'er; 
And when at home from foreign sufferings freed, 
More near and deep, domestic woes succeed ! ' 

" With imprecations thus he fill'd the air, 
And angry Neptune heard the unrighteous prayer. 
A larger rock then heaving from the plain, 
He whirl'd it round : it sung across the main ; 
It fell, and brush'd the stern : the billows roar, 
Shake at the weight, and refluent beat the shore. 
With all our force we kept aloof to sea, 
And gained the island where our vessels lay. 
Our sight the whole collected navy cheer'd, 
Who, waiting long, by turns had hoped and fear'd. 
There disembarking on the green sea side, 
We land our cattle, and the spoil divide: 
Of these due shares to every sailor fall ; 
The master ram was voted mine by all : 
And him (the guardian of Ulysses' fate) 
With pious mind to Heaven I consecrate. 
But the great god, whose thunder rends the skies, 
Averse, beholds the smoking sacrifice ; 
And sees me wandering still from coast to coast, 
And all my vessels, all my people, lost ! 
While thoughtless we indulge the genial rite, 
As plenteous cates and flowing bowls invite; 
Till evening Phoebus roll'd away the light: 
Stretch 'd on the shore in careless ease we rest, 
Till ruddy morning purpled o'er the east ; 
Then from their anchors all our ships unbind, 
And mount the decks, and call the willing wind. 
Now, ranged in order on our banks we sweep 
With hasty strokes the hoarse-resounding deep; 
Blind to the future, pensive with our fears, 
Glad for the living, for the dead in tears." 



136 THE ODYSSEY. jBooK X. 



BOOK X. 



ARGUMENT. 

ADVENTURBS WITH .*OLUS, THB L^STRVGONS, AND C1RCH. 

Ulysses arrives at the island of jGplus, who gives him prosperous winds, and incloses 
the adverse ones in a bag, which his companions untying, they are driven back 
again and rejected. Then they sail to the Laestrygons, where they lose eleven ships, 
and, with only one remaining, proceed to the island of Circe. Eurylochus is sent 
first with some companions, all which, except Eurylochus, are transformed into 
owme. Ulysses then undertakes the adventure, and, by the help of Mercury, who 
gives him the herb Moly, overcomes the enchantress, and procures the restoration 
of his men. After a year's stay with her, he prepares, at her instigation, for his 
voyage to the infernalshades. 

" AT length we reach'd Nona's sea-girt shore, 

Where great Hippotades the sceptre bore,* 

A floating isle ! high-raised by toil divine, 

Strong walls of brass the rocky coast confine. 

Six blooming youths, in private grandeur bred, 

And six fair daughters, graced the royal bed : 

These sons their sisters wed, and all remain 

Their parents' pride, and pleasure of their reign. 

All day they feast, all day the bowls flow round, 

And joy and music through the isle resound : 

At night each pair on splendid carpets lay, 

And crown'd with love the pleasures of the day. 

This happy port affords our wandering fleet 

A month's reception, and a safe retreat. 

Full oft the monarch urged me to relate 

The fall of Ilion, and the Grecian fate ; 

Full oft I told : at length for parting moved : 

The king with mighty gifts my suit approved. 

The adverse winds in leathern bags he braced, 

Compress 'd their force, and lock'd each struggling blast : 

For him the mighty sire of gods assign'd 

The tempest's lood, the tyrant of the wind : 

His word alone the listening storms obey, 

To smooth the deep, or swell the foamy sea. 

These in my hollow ship the monarch hung, 

* Hiffotadts, jEolus. 



BOOK X-l THE ODYSSEY, 137 

Securely fetter'd by a silver thong : 

But Zephyrus exempt, with friendly gales 

He charged to fill, and guide the swelling sails : 

Rare gift ! but O, what gift to fools avails ! 

" Nine prosperous days we plied the laboring oar; 
The tenth presents our welcome native shore : 
The hills display the beacon's friendly light, 
And rising mountains gain upon our sight. 
Then first my eyes, by waichful toils oppress'd, 
Complied to take the balmy gifts of rest ; 
Then first my hands did from thejudder part 
(So much the love of home posse ss'd my heart) : 
When lo ! on board a fond debate arose ; 
What rare device those vessels might inclose ? 
What sum, what prize from >Eolus 1 brought ? 
Whilst to his neighbor each express'd his thought : 

" ' Say, whence ye gods, contending nations strive 
Who most shall please, who most our hero give? 
Long have his coffers groan'd with Trojan spoils ; 
Whilst we, the wretched partners of his toils, 
Reproach'd by want, our fruitless labors mourn, 
And only rich in barren fame return. 
Now yEolus, ye see, augments his store : 
But come, my friends, these mystics gifts explore.' 
They said : and (oh cursed fate !) the thongs unbound! 
The gushing tempest sweeps the ocean round ; 
Snatch'd in the whirl, the hurried navy flew, 
The ocean widen'd and the shores withdrew. 
Roused from my fatal sleep I long debate 
If still to live, or desperate plunge to fate ; 
Thus doubting, prostrate on the deck I lay, 
Till all the coward thoughts of death gave way. 

" Meanwhile our vessels plough the liquid p'lain, 
And soon the known yEolian coast regain ; 
Our groan the rocks remurmur'd to the main. 
We leap'd on shore, and with a scantv feast 
Our thirst and hunger hastily repress'd; 
That done, two chosen heralds straight attend 
Our second progress to my royal friend : 
And him amidst his jovial sons we found ; 
The banquet steaming, and the goblets crown'd : 
There humbly stoop'd with conscious shame and awe, 
Nor nearer than the gate presumed to draw. 
But soon his sons their well-known guest descried, 
And starting from their couches loudly cried : 
* Ulysses here ! what demon could'st thou meet 
To thwart thy passage, and repel thy fleet ? 



138 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK X. 



Wast thou not furnish'd by our choicest care 
For Greece, for home, and all thy soul held clear ? * 
Thus they. In silence long my fate I mourn'd; 
At length these words with accents low return'd : 
' Me, lock'd in sleep, my faithless crew bereft 
Of all the blessings of your godlike gift ! 
But grant, oh grant, our loss we may retrieve : 
A favor you, and you alone can give.' 

" Thus I with art to move their pity tried, 
And touch'd the youths ; but their stern sire replied : 
'Vile wretch, begone! this instant I command 
Thy fleet accursed to leave our hallow'd land. 
His baneful suit pollutes these bless'd abodes, 
Whose fate proclaims him hateful to the gods.' 

" Thus fierce he said : we sighing went our way, 
And with desponding hearts put off to sea. 
The sailors spent with toils their folly mourn, 
But mourn in vain ; no prospect of return : 
Six days and nights a doubtful course we steer, 
The next proud Lamos' stately towers appear, 
And Laestrygonia's gates arise distinct in air: 
The shepherd, quitting here at night the plain, 
Calls, to succeed his cares, the watchful swain ; 
But he that scorns the chains of sleep to wear, 
And adds the herdsiran's to the shepherd's care, 
So near the pastures, and so short the way, 
His double toils may claim a double pay, 
And join the labors of the night and day.* 

"Within a long recess a bay there lies, 
Edged round with cliffs high pointing to the skies ; 
The jutting shores that swell on either side 
Contract its mouth, and break the rushing tide. 
Our eager sailors seize the fair retreat, 
And bound within the port their crowded fleet ; 
For here retired the sinking billows sleep, 
And smiling calmness silver'd o'er the deep. 
I only in the bay refused to moor, 
And fix'd, without, my halsers to the shore. 

" From thence we climb'd a point, whose airy brow 
Commands the prospect of the plains below : 
No tracks of beasts, or signs of men. we found, 
But smoky volumes rolling from the ground. 
Two with our herald thither we command, 
With speed to learn what men possess'd the land. 
They went, and kept the wheel's smooth-beaten road 
Which to the city drew the mountain wood ; 



* There is much doubt as to the real meaning of this passage. 



BOOK X.] THE ODYSSEY. 



When lo ! they met, beside a crystal spring, 
The daughter of Antiphates the king ; 
She to Artacia's silver streams came down 
(Artacia's streams alone supply the town): 
The damsel they approach, and ask'd what race 
The people were? who monarch of the place? 
With joy the maid the unwary strangers heard, 
And show'd them where the royal dome appear'd. 
They went ; but, as they entering saw the queen 
Of size enormous, and terrific mien 
(Not yielding to some bulky mountain's height), 
A sudden horror struck their aching sight. 
Swift at her call her husband scour'd away 
To wreak his hunger on the destined prey ; 
One for his food the raging glutton slew, 
But two rush'd out, and to the ntivy flew. 

" Balk'd of his prey, the yelling monster flies, 
And fills the city with his hideous cries : 
A ghastly band of giants hear the roar, 
And, pouring down the mountains, crowd the shore. 
Fragment^ they rend from off the craggy brow 
And dash the ruins on the ships below : 
The crackling vessels burst ; hoarse groans arise, 
And mingled horrors echo to the skies ; 
The men like fish, they struck upon the flood, 
And cramm'd their filthy throats with human food. 
Whilst thus their fury rages at the bay, 
My sword our cables cut, I call'd to weigh ; 
And charged my men, as they from fate would fly, 
Each nerve to strain, each bending oar to ply. 
The sailors catch the word, their oars they seize, 
And sweep with equal strokes the smoky seas : 
Clear of the rocks the impatient vessel flies; 
Whilst in the port each wretch encumber'd dies. 
With earnest haste my frighted sailors press, 
While kindling transports glow'd at our success ; 
But the sad fate that did our friends destroy, 
Cool'd every breast, and damp'd the rising joy. 

" Now dropp'd our anchors in the ^Eaean bay,* 
Where Circe dwelt, the daughter of the Day ! 
Her mother Perse, of old Ocean's strain, 
Thus from the Sun descended, and the Main 
(From the same lineage stern yEoetes came, 
The far-famed brother of the enchantress dame) ; 



* ^Etran bay, so called from &x, an island of Colchis. Its situation is doubtful, 
ome placing it on the western coast of Italy, others off the western coast of Sicily. 



THE ODYSSEY. [BooK X. 



Goddess, and queen, to whom the powers belong 

Of dreadful magic and commanding song. 

Some god directing to this peaceful bay 

Silent we came, and melancholy lay, 

Spent and o'erwatch'd. Two days and nights roll'd on, 

And now the third succeeding morning shone. 

I climb'd a cliff, with spear and sword in hand, 

Whose ridge o'erlook'd a shady length of land ; 

To learn if aught of mortal works appear, 

Or cheerful voice of mortal strike the ear ? 

From the high point I mark'd, in distant view, 

A stream of curling smoke ascending blue, 

And spiry tops, the tufted trees above, 

Of Circe's palace bosom'd in the grove. 

" Thither to haste, the region to explore, 
Was first my thought*: but speeding back to shore 
I deem'd it best to visit first my crew, 
And send our spies the dubious coast to view. 
As down the hill I solitary go, 
Some power divine, who pities human woe, 
Sent a tall stag, descending from the wood, 
To cool his fervor in the crystal flood ; 
Luxuriant on the wave-worn bank he lay, 
Stretch'd forth and panting in the sunny ray. 
I launch'd my spear, and with a sudden wound 
Transpierced his back, and fix'd him to the ground. 
He falls, and mourns his fate with human cries : 
Through the wide wound the vital spirit flies. 
I drew, and casting on the river's side 
The bloody spear, his gather'd feet I tied 
With twining osiers which the bank supplied. 
An ell in length the pliant wisp I weaved, 
And the huge body on my shoulders heaved : 
Then leaning on my spear with both my hands, 
Upbore my load, and press'd the sinking sands 
With weighty steps, till at the ship I threw 
The welcome burden, and bespoke my crew: 

" ' Cheer up, my friends ! it is not yet our fate 
To glide with ghosts through Pluto's gloomy gate. 
Food in the desert land, behold ! is given ! 
Live, and enjoy the providence of heaven.' 

" The joyful crew survey his mighty size, 
And on the future banquet feast their eyes, 
As huge in length extended lay the beast ; 
Then wash their hands, and hasten to the feast. 
There, till the setting sun roll'd down the light, 
They sate indulging in the genial rite. 



BOOK X.] THE ODYSSEY. 



When evening rose, and darkness cover'd o'er 
The face of things, we slept along the shore. 
But when the rosy morning warm'd the east, 
My men I summon'd, and these words address'd : 

" ' Followers and friends, attend what I propose : 
Ye sad companions of Ulysses' woes ! 
We know not here what land before us lies, 
Or to what quarter now we turn our eyes, 
Or where the sun shall set, or where shall rise. 
Here let us think (if thinking be not vain) 
If any counsel, any hope remain. 
Alas ! from yonder promontory's brow 
I view'd the coast, a region flat and low ; 
An isle encircled with the boundless flood ; 
A length of thickets, and entangled wood. 
Some smoke I saw amid the forest rise, 
And all around it only seas and skies !' 

"With broken hearts my sad companions stood, 
Mindful of Cyclops and hi's human food, 
And horrid Laestrygons, the men of blood.* 
Presaging tears apace began to rain ; 
But tears in mortal miseries are vain. 
In equal parts I straight divide my band, 
And name a chief each party to command ; 
I led the one, and of the other side 
Appointed brave Eurylochus the guide. 
Then in the brazen helm the lots we throw, 
And fortune casts Eurylochus to go; 
He march'd with twice eleven'in his train; 
Pensive they march, and pensive we remain. 

" The palace in a woody vale they found, 
High raised of stone ; a shaded space around ; 
Where mountain wolves and brindled lions roam 
(By magic tamed), familiar to the dome. 

* Lastrygons. " Some suppose them the same as the people of Leontium, and 
neighbors to the Cyclops : fed on human flesh, and when Ulysses came on their 
coasts, sunk his ships and devoured his companions ; were of gigantic stature, accord- 
ing to Homer. Bochart, G. S. i. 30, explains this fable by supposing that they were 
so called by the Phoenicians, Laistrigan, /. e. ' leomardnx, from their barbarous and 
ruel manners, and identifies them with the Leontini, from a Greek etymology ; the 
ocation of the Lsestrygones in Sicily seems to have been an arbitrary arrangement of 
hose who pretended to elucidate the mythological narratives of Homer: the poet on 
he contrary places them and the Cyclops at a wide distance from each other; equally 
abiilous is the account that a colony of them passed over into Italy with Lamus at 
heir head, and built the city of Formiae ; when once the respective situations of 
Circe's island and that of j'Eolus were thought to have been ascertained, it became no 
very difficult matter to advance a step further, and, as the Lasstrygones lay, according 
o Homer, between those two islands, to make Formias on the Italian coast a city ol 
hat people | Formiae was, in truth, of Pelasgic origin, and seems to have owed 
much of its prosperity to a Spartan colony : the name appears to come from the 
Greek ' Op/uia?,' and to have denoted a good harbor. Mannert. iv. n," quoted in 
Barker's Lempriere. 



142 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK X. 

With gentle blandishment our men they meet, 
And wag their tails, and fawning lick their feet. 
As from some feast a man returning late, 
His faithful dogs all meet him at the gate, 
Rejoicing round, some morsel to receive 
(Such as the good man ever used to give), 
Domestic thus the grisly beasts drew near ; 
They gaze with wonder not unmix'd with fear. 
Now on the threshold of the dome they stood, 
And heard a voice resounding through the wood : 
Placed at her loom within, the goddess sung ; 
The vaulted roofs and solid pavement rung. 
O'er the fair web the rising figures shine, 
Immortal labor ! worthy hands divine. 
Polites to the rest the question moved 
(A gallant leader, and a man I loved) : 
. "' What voice celestial, chanting to the loom 
(Or nymph, or goddess), echoes from the room ? 
Say, shall we seek access ?' With that they call ; 
And wide unfold the portals of the hall. 

" The goddess, rising, asks her guests to stay, 
Who blindly follow where she leads the way. 
Eurylochus alone of all the band, 
Suspecting fraud, more prudently remain'd. 
On thrones around with downy coverings graced, 
With semblance fair, the unhappy men she placed. 
Milk newly press'd, the sacred flour of wheat, 
And honey fresh, and Pramnian wines the treat : * 
But venom'd was the bfead, and mix'd the bowl, 
With drugs of force to darken all 'the soul: 
Soon in the luscious feast themselves they lost, 
And drank oblivion of their native coast. 
Instant her circling wand the goddess waves, 
To hogs transforms them, and the sty receives. 
No more was seen the human form divine ; 
Head, face, and members, bristle into swine : 
Still cursed with sense, their minds remain alone, 
And their own voice affrights them when they groan. 
Meanwhile the goddess in disdain bestows 
The mast and acorn, brutal food ! and strows 
The fruits and cornel, as their feast, around ; 
Now prone and grovelling on unsavory ground. 

" Eurylochus, with pensive steps and slow, 
Aghast returns ; the messenger of woe, 
And bitter fate. To speak he made essay, 

* Pramnian -winrs. These wines were proverbial for their excellence. See 
Alberti on Hesychius, vol. ii. p. 1015. 



BOOK X.] THE ODYSSEY. 143 

In vain essay'd, nor would his tongue obey. 
His swelling heart denied the words their way : 
But speaking tears the want of words supply, 
And the full soul bursts copious from his eye. 
Affrighted, anxious for our fellows' fates, 
We press to hear what sadly he relates : 

" ' We went, Ulysses ! (such was thy command 
Through the lone thicket and the desert land. 
A palace in a woody vale we found 
Brown with dark forests, and with shades around. 
A voice celestial echoed through the dome, 
Or nymph or goddess, chanting to the loom. 
Access we sought, nor was access denied : 
Radiant she came : the portals open'd wide : 
The goddess mild invites the guests to stay : 
They blindly follow where she leads the way. 
I only wait behind of all the train: 
I waited long, and eyed the doors in vain : 
The rest are vanish'd, none repass'd the gate, 
And not a man appears to tell their fate.' 

" I heard, and instant o'er my shoulder flung 
The belt in which my weighty falchion hung 
(A beamy blade ): then seized the bended bow, 
And bade him guide the way, resolved to go. 
He, prostrate falling, with both hands embraced 
My knees, and weeping thus his suit address'd : 

" ' O king, beloved of Jove, thy servant spare, 
And ah. thyself the rash attempt forbear ! 
Never, alas ! thou never shalt return, 
Or see the wretched for whose loss we mourn. 
With what remains from certain ruin fly, 
And save the few not fated yet to die.' 

" I answer'd stern : ' Inglorious then remain, 
Here feast and loiter, and desert thy train. 
Alone, unfriended, will I tempt my way ; 
The laws of fate compel, aryi I obey.' 
This said, and scornful turning from the shore 
My haughty step, I stalk'd the valley o'er. 
Till now approaching nigh the magic bower, 
Where dwelt the enchantress skill'd in herbs of power, 
A form divine forth issued from the wood 
(Immortal Hermes with the golden rod) 
In human semblance. On his bloomy face 
Youth smiled celestial, with each opening grace. 
He seized my hand, and gracious thus began : 
' Ah whither roam'st thou, much-enduring man ? 
O blind to fate ! what led thy steps to rove 



144 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK x. 

The horrid mazes of this magic grove ? 

Each friend you seek in yon enclosure lies, 

All lost their form, and habitants of sties. 

Think'st thou by wit to model their escape ? 

Sooner shalt thou, a stranger to thy shape, 

Fall prone their equal : first thy danger know, 

Then take the antidote the gods bestow. 

The plant I give through all the direful bower 

Shall guard thee, and avert the evil hour. , ,- 

Now hear her wicked arts . Before thy eyes 

The bowl shall sparkle, and the banquet rise ; 

Take this, nor from the faithless feast abstain, 

For temper'd drugs and poison shall be vain. 

Soon as she strikes her wand, and gives the word, 

Draw forth and brandish thy refulgent sword, 

And menace death : those menaces shall move 

Her alter'd mind to blandishment and love. 

Nor shun the blessing proffer'd to thy arms, 

Ascend her bed, and taste celestial charms : 

So shall thy tedious toils a respite find, 

And thy lost friends return to human-kind. 

But sv/ear her first by those dread oaths that tie 

The powers below, the blessed in the sky ; 

Lest to thee naked secret fraud be meant, 

Or magic bind thee cold and impotent. 

" Thus while he spoke, the sovereign plant he drew 
Where on the all-bearing earth unmark'd it grew, 
And show'd its nature and its wondrous power : 
Black was the root, but milky white the flower; 
Moly the name, to mortals hard to find,* 
But all is easy to the ethereal kind. 
This Hermes gave, then, gliding off the glade, 
Shot to Olympus from the woodland shade. 
While, full of thought, revolving fates to come, 
I speed my passage to the enchanted dome. 

* Moly. " Milton, the idea of whose Comus differs from that of the fable of Circe 
in exhibitfng the spiritual and intellectual rather than the mere moral or prudential 
nature in danger from, and finally tmnnphing over, the charms of worldly pleasure, 
seizes the thought of the Moly, and gives it a religious or Christian turn, which, 01 
course, is not found in the Odyssey : 

' Amongst the rest a small unsightly root, 

But of divine effect, he cull'd me out ; 

The leaf was dark, and hnd prickles on it, 

But in another country, as he said, 

Bare a bright golden .flower, but not in this soil; 

Unknown, and like esteem'd, the dull swain 

Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon ; 

And yet more medicinal is it than that Moiy 

That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave,' &c." 

Coleridge, p. 263. 



BOOK X.] THE ODYSSEY. 145 

Arrived, before the lofty gates I stay'd ; 
The lofty gates the goddess wide display'd : 
She leads before, and to the feast invites; 
I follow sadly to the magic rites. 
Radiant with starry studs, a silver seat 
Received my limbs : a footstool eased my feet, 
She mix'd the potion, fraudulent of soul ; 
The poison mantled in the golden bowl. 
J took, and quaff'd it, confident in heaven : 
Then waved the wand, and then the word was given. 
1 Hence to thy fellows ! (dreadful she began :) 
Go, be a beast ! ' I heard, and yet was man. 

" Then, sudden whirling, like a waving flame, 
My beamy falchion, I assault the dame. 
Struck with unusual fear, she trembling cries, 
She faints, she falls ; she lifts her weeping eyes. 

" ' What art thou ? say ! from whence, from whom you 

came ? 

O more than human ! tell thy race, thy name. 
Amazing strength, these prisons to sustain ! 
Not mortal thou, nor mortal is thy brain. 
Or art thou he,* the man to come (foretold 
By Hermes, powerful with the wand of gold), 
The man from Troy, who wander'd ocean round ; 
The man for wisdom's various arts renown'd, 
Ulysses ? Oh ! thy threatening fury cease, 
Sheathe thy bright sword, and join our hands in peace ! 
Let mutual joys our mutual trust combine, 
And love, and love-born confidence, be thine.' 

"'And how, dread Circe ! (furious 1 rejoin) 
Can love, and love-born confidence, be mine, 
Beneath thy charms when my companions groan, 
Transform'd to beasts, with accents not their own ? 
O thou of fraudful heart, shall I be led 
To share thy feast-rites, or ascend thy bed ; 
That, all unarm'd, thy vengeance may have vent, 
And magic bind me, cold and impotent ? 
Celestial as thou art, yet stand denied ; 
Or swear that oath by which the gods are tied, 
Swear, in thy soul no latent frauds remain, 
Swear by the vow which never can be vain.' 

"The goddess swore : then seized my hand, and led 
To the sweet transports of the genial bed. 
Ministrant to the queen, with busy care 
Four faithful handmaids the soft rites prepare ; 
Nymphs sprung from fountains, or from shady woods, 
Or the fair offspring of the sacred floods. 



146 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK X, 

One o'er the couches painted carpets threw, 
Whose purple lustre glow'd against the view : 
White linen lay beneath. Another placed 
The silver stands, with golden flaskets graced : 
With dulcet beverage this the beaker crown'd, 
Fair in the midst, with gilded cups around ; 
That in the tripod o'er the kindled pile 
The water pours ; the bubbling waters boil ; 
An ample vase receives the smoking wave ; 
And, in the bath prepared, my limbs I lave : 
Reviving sweets repair the mind's decay, 
And take the painful sense of toil away. 
A vest and tunic o'er me next she threw, 
Fresh from the bath, and dropping balmy dew; 
Then led and placed me on the sovereign seat, 
With carpets spread ; a footstool at my feet.' 
The golden ewer a nymph obsequious brings, 
Replenish'd from the cool translucent springs; 
With copious water the bright vase supplies 
A silver laver of capacious "size. 
I wash'd. The table in fair order spread, 
They heap the glittering canisters with bread: 
Viands of various kinds allure the taste, 
Of choicest sort and savor, rich repast ! 
Circe in vain invites the feast to share; 
Absent I ponder, and absorb'd in care ; 
While scenes of woe rose anxious in my breast, 
The queen beheld me, and these words address'd : 

" ' Why sits Ulysses silent and apart, 
Some hoard of grief close harbor'd at his heart ? 
Untouch'd before thee stand the cates divine, 
And unregarded laughs the rosy wine. 
Can yet a doubt or any dread remain, 
When sworn that oath which never can be vain ? ' 

" I answered : ' Goddess ! human is my breast, 
By justice sway'd, by tender pity press'd ; 
111 fits it me, whose friends are sunk to beasts, 
To quaff thy bowls, or riot in thy feasts. 
Me would'st thou please ? for them thy cares employ, 
And them to me restore, and me to joy.' 

" With that she parted : in her potent hand 
She bore the virtue of the magic wand. 
Then, hastening to the sties, set wide the door, 
Urged forth, and drove the bristly herd before ; 
Unwieldy, out they rush'd with general cry, 
Enormous beasts, dishonest to the eye. 
Now touch'd by counter-charms they change again, 



BOOK X.] THE ODYSSEY. 147 

And stand majestic, and recall'd to men. 

Those hairs of late that bristled every part, 

Fall off, miraculous effect of art ! 

Till all the form in full proportion rise, 

More young, more large, more graceful to my eyes. 

They saw, they knew me, and with eager pace 

Clung to their master in a long embrace : 

Sad, pleasing sight ! with tears each eye ran o'er, 

And sobs of joy re-echoed through the bovver ; 

E'en Circe wept, her adamantine heart 

Felt pity enter, and sustain'd her part. 

" ' Son of Laertes ! (then the queen began) 
Oh much-enduring, much experienced man ! 
Haste to thy vessel on the sea-beat shore, 
Unload thy treasures, and the gaily moor; 
Then bring thy friends, secure from future harms, 
And in our grottoes stow thy spoils and arms.' 

"She said. Obedient to her high command 
I quit the place, and hasten to the strand, 
My sad companions on the beach I found, 
Their wistful eyes in floods of sorrow drown'd. 

" As from fresh pastures and the dewy field 
(When loaded cribs their evening banquet yield) 
The lowing herds return ; around them throng 
With leaps and bounds their late imprison'd young, 
Rush to their mothers with unruly joy, 
And echoing hills return the tender cry : 
So round me press'd, exulting at my sight, 
With cries and agonies of wild delight, 
The weeping sailors ; nor less fierce their joy 
Than if return'd to Ithaca from Troy. 
' Ah master ! ever honor'd, ever dear 
(These tender words on evety side I hear) 
What other joy can equal thy return ? 
Not that loved' country for whose sight we mourn. 
The soil that nursed us, and that gave us breath : 
But ah ! relate our lost companions' death.' 

" I answer'd cheerful : " Haste, your galley moor, 
And bring our treasures and our arms ashore : 
Those in yon hollow caverns let us lay, 
Then rise, and follow where I lead the way. 
Your fellows live ; believe your eyes, and come 
To taste the joys of Circe's sacred dome.' 

" With ready speed the joyful crew obey ; 
Alone Eurylochus persuades their stay. 

" ' Whither (he cried), ah whither will ye run ? 
Seek ye to meet those evils ye should shun ? 



148 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK X. 

Will you the terrors of the dome explore, 

In swine to grovel, or in lions roar, 

Or wolf-like howl away the midnight hour 

In dreadful watch around the magic bower ? 

Remember Cyclops, and his bloody deed ; 

The leader's rashness made the soldiers bleed.' 
" I heard incensed, and first resolved to speed 

My flying falchion at the rebel's head. 

Dear as he was, by ties of kindred bound, 

This hand had stretch'd him breathless on the ground, 

But all at once my interposing train 

For mercy pleaded, nor could plead in vain. 

' Leave here the man who dares his prince desert, 

Leave to repentance and his own sad heart, 
To guard the ship. Seek we the sacred shades 
Of Circe's palace, where Ulysses leads.' 

" This with one voice declared, the rising train 

Left the black vessel by the murmuring main. 
Shame touch'd Eurylochus's alter'd breast; 
He fear'd my threats, and follow'd with the rest. 
" Meanwhile the goddess, with indulgent cares 
And social joys, the late transform'd repairs ; 
The bath, the feast, their fainting soul renews : 
Rich in refulgent robes, and dropping balmy dews : 
Brightening with joy, their eager eyes behold, 
Each other's face, and each his story told ; 
Then gushing tears the narrative confound, 
And with their sobs the vaulted roofs resound. 
When hush'd their passion, thus the goddess cries : 
4 Ulysses, taught by labors to be wise, 
Let this short memory of grief suffice. 
To me are known the various woes ye bore, 
In storms by sea, in perjls on the shore; 
Forget whatever was in Fortune's power, 
And share the pleasures of this genial hour. 
Such be yeur mind as ere ye left your coast, 
Or learn 'd to sorrow for a country lost. 
Exiles and wanderers now, where'er ye go, 
Too faithful memory renews your woe : 
The cause removed, habitual griefs remain, 
And the soul saddens by the use of pain.' 

" Her kind entreaty moved the general breast ; 
Tired with long toil, we willing sunk to rest. 
We plied the banquet, and the bowl we crown'd, 
Till the full circle of the year came round. 
But when the seasons, following in their train, 
Brought back the months, the days, and hours again ; 



BOOK X.] THE ODYSSEY. 149 

As from a lethargy at once they rise, 
And urge their chief with animating cries : 

" ' Is this, Ulysses, our inglorious lot ? 
And is the name of Ithaca forgot ? 
Shall never the dear land in prospect rise, 
Or the loved palace glitter in our eyes ? ' 

"Melting 1 heard: yet still the sun's decline 
Prolong'd the feast, and quaff 'd the rosy wine : 
But when the shades came on at evening hour, 
And all lay slumbering in the dusky bower, 
I came a suppliant to fair Circe's bed, 
The tender moment seized, and thus I said : 
Be mindful, goddess ! of thy promise made ; 
Must sad Ulysses ever be delay'd ? 
Around their lord my sad companions mourn, 
Each breast beats homeward, anxious to return: 
If but a moment parted from thy eyes, 
Their tears flow round me, and my heart complies.' 

" ' Go then (she cried), ah go ! yet think, not I, 
Not Circe, but the Fates, your wish deny. 
Ah, hope not yet to breathe thy native air ! 
Far other journey first demands thy care : 
To tread the uncomfortable paths beneath, 
And view the realmp of darkness and of death. 
There seek the Theban bard, deprived of sight ; 
Within, irradiate with prophetic light ! 
To whom Persephone, entire and whole, 
Gave to retain the unseparated soul : 
The rest are forms, of empty ether made ; 
Impassive semblance, and a flitting shade.' 

" Struck at the word, my very heart was dead : 
Pensive I sate : my tears bedevv'd the bed : 
To hate the light and life my soul begun, 
And saw that all was grief beneath the sun. 
Composed at length, the gushing tears suppress'd, 
And my toss'd limbs now wearied into rest. 
' How shall I tread (I cried), ah, Circe ! say, 
The dark descent, and who shall guide the way ? 
Can living eyes behold the realms below? 
What bark to waft me, and what wind to blow ? ' 

" ' Thv fated road (the magic power replied), 
Divine Ulysses ! asks no mortal guide. 
Rear but the mast, the spacious sail display, 
The northern winds shall wing thee on thy way. 
Soon shalt thou reach old Ocean's utmost ends, 
Where to the main the shelving shore descends ; 
The barren trees of Proserpine's black woods 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK X. 



Poplars and willows trembling o'er the floods 

There fix thy vessel in the lonely bay, 

And enter there the kingdoms void of day : 

Where Phlegethon's loud torrents, rushing down, 

Hiss in the flaming gulf of Acheron ; 

And where, slow rolling from the Stygian bed, 

Cocytus' lamentable waters spread : 

Where the dark rock o'erhangs the infernal lake. 

And mingling streams eternal murmurs make. 

First draw thy falchion, and on every side 

Trench the black earth a cubit long and wide : 

To all the shades around libations pour, 

And o'er the ingredients strew the hallow'd flour : 

New wine and milk, with honey temper'd bring, 

And living water from the crystal spring. 

Then the wan shades and feeble ghosts implore, 

With promised offerings on thy native shore ; 

A barren cow, the stateliest of the isle, 

And heap'd with various wealth, a blazing pile : 

These to the rest ; but to the seer must bleed 

A sable ram, the pride of all thy breed. 

These solemn vows and holy offerings paid 

To all the phantom nations of the dead, 

Be next thy care the sable sheep to place 

Full o'er the pit, and hellward turn their face : 

But from the infernal rite thine eye withdraw, 

And back to Ocean glance with reverend awe. 

Sudden shall skim along the dusky glades 

Thin airy shoals, and visionary shades. 

Then give command the sacrifice to haste, 

Let the flay'd victims in the flame be cast. 

And sacred vows and mystic song applied 

To grisly Pluto and his gloomy bride. 

Wide o'er the pool thy falchion waved around 

Shall drive the spectres from forbidden ground : 

The sacred draught shall all the dead forbear, 

Till awful from the shades arise the seer. 

Let him, oraculous, the end, the way, 

The turns of all thy future fate display, 

Thy pilgrimage to come, and remnant of thy day.' 

" So speaking, from.the ruddy orient shone 
The morn, conspicuous on her golden throne. 
The goddess with a radiant tunic dress'd 
My limbs, and o'er me cast a silken vest. 
Lo'ng flowing robes, of purest white, array 
The nymph, that added lustre to the day : 
A tiar wreath'd her head with many a fold; 



BOOK X.J THE ODYSSEY. 151 

Her waist was circled with a zone of gold. 

Forth issuing then, from place to place I flew ; 

Rouse man by man, and animate my crew. 

' Rise, rise, my mates ! 'tis Circe gives command : 

Our journey calls us ; haste, and quit the land.' 

All rise and follow, yet depart not all, 

For Fate decreed one wretched man to fall. 

" A youth there was, Elpenor was he named, 
Not much for sense, nor much for courage famed : 
The youngest of our band, a vulgar soul, 
Born but to banquet, and to drain the bowl. 
He, hot and careless, on a turret's height 
With sleep repair'd the long debauch of night ; 
The sudden tumult stirred him where he lay, 
And down he hasten'd, but forgot the way ; 
Full headlong from the roof the sleeper fell, 
And snapp'd the spinal joint, and waked in hell. 

" The rest crowd round me with an eager look ; 
I met them with a sigh, and thus bespoke : 
' Already, friends ! ye think your toils are o'er, 
Your hopes already touch your native shore : 
Alas ! far otherwise the nymph declares, 
Far other journey first demands our cares ; 
To tread the uncomfortable paths beneath, 
The dreary realms of darkness and of death; 
To seek Tiresias' awful shade below, 
And thence our fortunes and our fates to know.' 

" My sad companions heard in deep despair ; 
Frantic they tore their manly growth of hair ; 
To earth they fell : the tears began to rain ; 
But tears in mortal miseries are vain. 
Sadly they fared along the sea-beat shore ; 
Still heaved their hearts, and still their eyes ran o'er. 
The ready victims at our bark we found, 
The sable ewe and ram, together bound. 
For swift as thought the goddess had been there. 
And thence had glided, viewless as the air : 
The paths of gods what mortal can survey ? 
Who eyes their motion ? who shall trace their way ? " 



152 TffE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XI. 



BOOK XI. 

ARGUMENT. 

THB DESCENT INTO HELL. 

Ulysses continues his narration. How he arrived at the land of the Cimmerians, and 
what ceremonies he performed to invoke the dead. The manner of his descent, 
and the apparition of the shades : his conversation with Elpenor, and with Tires- 
ias, who informs him in a prophetic manner of his fortunes to come. He meets 
his mother Anticlea, from whom he learns the state of his family. He sees the 
shades of the ancient heroines, afterwards of the heroes, and converses in partic- 
ular with Agamemnon and Achilles. Ajax keeps at a sullen distance, and disdains 
to answer him. He then beholds Tityus, Tantalus, Sisyphus, Hercules; till he 
is deterred from further curiosity by the apparition of hornd spectres, and the 
cries of the wicked in torments. 

" Now to the shores we bend, a mournful train, 
Climb the tall bark, and launch into the main : 
At once the mast we rear, at once unbind 
The spacious sheet, and stretch it to the wind : 
Then pale and pensive stand, with cares oppress'd, 
And solemn horror saddens every breast. 
A freshening breeze the magic power supplied,* 
While the wing'd vessel flew along the tide ; 
Our oars we shipp'd : all day the swelling sails 
Full from the guiding pilot catch'd the gales. 

" Now sunk the sun from his aerial height, 
When lo ! we reach'd old Ocean's utmost bounds, 
Where rocks control his waves with ever-during mounds. 

" There in a lonely land, and gloomy cells, 
The dusky nation of Cimmeria dwells ;f 
The sun ne'er views the uncomfortable seats, 
When radiant he advances, or retreats : 

Circe. 

t Cimmeria. It seems of little use to hunt for a real geographical situation for 
the Cimmerians of Homer. Some ancient northern nation probably suggested their 
existence, and poetic fancy furnished the rest. 

" The most remarkable passage in the whole Odyssey for the aspect which it pre- 
sents of its mythology, is that magnificent tale of the Necyomanteia, or intercourse of 
Ulysses with the shades of the dead. It is very easy to call the whole or any part of 
this singular description spurious ; a:id certainly the passage, as a whole, is so con- 
ceived as to admit of parts being inserted or expunged without injury to its general 
consistency or entireness ; but those who remember the history of the collection of 
the Homeric poems, as previously stated in this work, will probably think it very idle 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. 153 

Unhappy race! whom endless night invades, 
Clouds the dull air, and wraps them round in shades. 

" The ship we moor on these obscure abodes ; 
Disbark the sheep, and offering to the gods; 
And, hellward bending, o'er the beach descry 
The doleful passage to the infernal sky. 
The victims, vow'd to each Tartarian power, 
Eurylochus and Perimedes bore. 

" Here open'd hell, all hell I here implored, 
And from the scabbard drew the shining sword : 
And trenching the black earth on every side, 
A cavern form'd, a cubit long and wide. 
New wine, with honey-temper'd milk, we bring, 
Then living waters from the crystal spring: 



to pretend to put out a few lines here and there, which may seem to bear marks of 
modern invention. The Necyomanteia. as a whole, appears to have just as good a 
right to be called Homeric as any other part of the Odyssey, and it is the conception of 
it, as a whole, to which I would call the attention of the student. The entire nar- 
rative is wrapped up in such a mist, it is so undefined and absolutely (indefinable in 
place, time, and manner, that it should almost seem as if the uncertainty of the 
poet's own knowledge of the state and locality of the dead were meant to be indicated 
by the indistinctness of his description. Ulysses sails all day from the dwelling of 
Circe with a north wind ; at sunset he comes to the boundary of the ocean, where the 
Cimmerians dwell in cloud and darkness and perpetual night ; here he goes ashore, 
and proceeds to a spot-described by Circe, digs a trench, pours certain libations, and 
sacrifices sheep in it, calls upon the dead to appear, draws his sword, and awaits the 
event. Immediately the names or shades assemble around the tiench, each thirst for 
the sacrificial blood, from which they are repelled by the sword's point, till Tiresias 
has appeared and drunk his fill. It is difficult to determine the nature of this grand 
and solemn scene, and to say whether Ulysses is supposed hin self to descend to the 
Shades, or only to evoke the'spirits, as the woman of Endor is commonly ur.derstood to 
have evoked Samuel. /Eneas, we know, actually descends and ascends ; and Lucian, 
in a piece founded entirely on this Necyomanteia, evidently takes .he hero to have 
visited the infernal regions in person. In many passages he seems FO to understand 
it. Ulysses sees Minos administering justice amongst the dead; he fees Orion hunting, 
Titvus tormented by vultures, Tantalus standing in the lake, and Sisyphus upheaving 
his stone; he sees the asphodel meadow. And Achilles asks how he has dared to 
descend 10 Hades, -where the shades of men dwell. Yet, upon a careful consideration 
of the beginning and conclusion of the passage, it will, I think, appear plain that no 
actual descent, such as that of /Eneas in the ^neid, was in the contf-mplation of the 
original poet ; but that the whole ground plan is that of an act of Asiatic evocation 
only ; and Lucian, who, in his piece, combines the Homeric rites of evocation with 
an actual descent, makes the evocator a Rabvlonian ard disciple of Zoroaster, and 
lays the scene somewhere on the banks of the Euphrates.** CoJerufee, p. 219, seq. 

At the risk of being charged with unwarrantable prolixity I must add the lollowmg 
obsrvation* of Colonel Mure : 

" From the narrative of this expedition every trait of comic humor is judiciously 
excluded. The gayety with which the royal adventurer had so lately recounted even 
his most calamitous vicissitudes gives place to a solemnity often risine to the sublime, 
in his description of the dismal terrors of the mansions of the dead. The consider- 
ation of the poet's doctrine of a future state as embodied in this episode, belongs to 
thr chapter on his mythology. Nowhere, perhaps, does the contrast between the 
U'ysses of Homer and the Ulysses of the later fable, between the high-mindedfearless 
adventurer and the mean-spirited insidnons manoenvrer, appear in a more prominent 
light than in the ' necromancy.' 1 The shade of Achilles himself expresses astonish- 
ment at the composure with which a solitary mortal wandrs, without divine escort, 
among, scenes of preternatural terror, at which even a living Achilles might have 
bhuddered." Mure's Homer, p. 402. 



154 THE ODYSSEY. I BOOK XI. 

O'er these was strew'd the consecrated flour, 
And on the surface shone the holy store. 

" Now the wan shades we hail, the infernal gods, 
To speed our course, and waft us o'er the floods : 
So shall a barren heifer from the stall 
Beneath the knife upon your altars fall ; 
So in our palace, at our safe return. 
Rich with unnumber'd gifts the pile shall burn; 
So shall a ram, the largest of the breed, 
Black as these regions, to Tiresias bljsed. 

" Thus solemn rites and holy vows we paid 
To all the phantom-nations of the dead ; 
Then died the sheep : a purple torrent flow'd, 
And all the caverns smoked with streaming blood. 
When lo ! appear'd along the dusky coasts, 
Thin, airy shoals of visionary ghosts : 
Fair, pensive youths, and soft enamour'd maids ; 
And wither'd elders, pale and wrinkled shades; 
Ghastly with wounds the forms of warriors slain 
Stalk'd with majestic port, a martial train : 
These and a thousand more swarm'd o'er the ground, 
And all the dire assembly shriek'd around. 
Astonish'd at the sight, aghast I stood, 
And a cold fear ran shivering through my Wood ; 
Straight I command the sacrifice to haste, 
Straight the flay'd victims to the flames are cast 
And mutter'd vows, and mystic song applied 
To grizzly Pluto, and his gloomy bride. 

" Now swift I waved my falchion o'er the blood ; 
Back started the pale throngs, and trembling stood. 
Round the black trench the gore untasted flows, 
Till awful from the shades Tiresias rose. 

" There wandering through the gloom I first survey, 
New to the realms of death, Elpenor's shade * 
His cold remains all naked to the sky 
On distant shores unwept, unburied lie. 
Sad at the sight I stand, deep fixed in woe, 
And ere I spoke the tears began to flow. 

" ' O say what angry power Elpenor led 
To glide in shades, and wander with the dead ? 
How could thy soul, by realms and seas disjoin'd, 
Outfly the nimble sail, and leave the lagging wind ?' 

" The ghost replied: 'To hell my doom I owe, 
Demons accursed, dire ministers of woe ! 
My feet, through wine unfaithful to their weight, 
Betray'd me, tumbling from a towery height : 
Staggering I reel'd, and as I reel'd I fell, 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. 155 

Lux'd the neck-joint my soul descends to hell. 

But lend me aid, I now conjure thee lend, 

By the soft tie and sacred name of friend ! 

By thy fond consort ! by thy father's cares ! 

By loved Telemachus's blooming years ! 

For well I know that soon the heavenly powers 

Will give thee back to day, and Circe's shores : 

There pious on my cold remains attend, 

There call to mind thy poor departed friend. 

The tribute of a tear is all I crave, 

And the possession of a peaceful grave. 

But if, unheard, in vain compassion plead, 

Revere the gods, the gods avenge the dead ! 

A tomb along the watery margin raise, 

The tomb with manly arms and trophies grace, 

To show posterity Elpenor was. 

There high in air, memorial of my name, 

Fix the smooth oar, and bid me live to fame.' 

" To whom with tears : ' These rites, O mournful shade, 
Due to thy ghost, shall to thy ghost be paid.' 

" Still as I spoke the phantom seem'd to moan, 
Tear follow'd tear, and groan succeeded groan. 
But, as my waving sword the blood surrounds, 
The shade withdrew, and mutter'd empty sounds. 

" There as the wondrous visions I survey'd, 
All pale ascends my royal mother's shade : 
A queen, to Troy she saw our legions pass ; 
Now a thin form is all Anticlea was ! 
Struck at the sight I melt with filial woe. 
And down my cheek the pious sorrows flow, 
Yet as I shook my falchion o'er the blood, 
Regardless of her son the parent stood. 

"When lo! the mighty Theban I behold;* 
To guide his steps he bore a staff of gold ; 
Awful he trod ! majestic was his look ! 
And from his holy lips these accents broke : 

" Why, mortal, wanderest thou from cheerful day, 
To tread the downward, melancholy way? 
What angry gods to these dark regions led 
Thee, yet alive, companion of the dead ? 
But sheathe thy poniard, while my tongue relates 
Heaven's stedfast purpose, and thy future fates.' 

" While yet he spoke, the prophet I obey'd, 
And in the scabbard plunged the glittering blade : 
Eager he quaff' d the gore, and then express'd 

* The 'mighty Theban. Tiresia.. 



156 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XI. 

Dark things to come, the counsels of his breast. 

" Weary of light, Ulysses here explores 
A prosperous voyage to his native shores; 
But know by me unerring Fates disclose 
* New trains of dangers, and new scenes of woes. 
I see, I see, thy bark by Neptune toss'd, 
For injured Cyclops, and his eyeball lost ! 
Yet to thy woes the gods decree an end, 
If Heaven thou please; and how to please attend ! 
Where on Trinacrian rocks the ocean roars,* 
Graze numerous herds along the verdant shores ; 
Though hunger press, yet fly the dangerous prey, 
The herds are sacred to the god of day, 
Who all surveys with his extensive eye, 
Above, below, on earth, and in the sky ! 
Rob not the god ; and so propitious gales 
Attend thy voyage, and impel thy sails : 
But, if his herds ye seize, beneath the waves 
I see thy friends o'erwhelm'd in liquid graves ! 
The direful wreck Ulysses scarce survives ! 
Ulysses at his country scarce arrives ! 
Strangers thy guides ! nor there thy labors end ; 
New foes arise, domestic ills attend ! 
There foul adulterers to thy bride resort, 
And lordly gluttons riot in thy court. 
But vengeance hastes amain ! These eyes behold 
The deathful scene, princes on princes roll'd ! 
That done, a people far from sea explore, 
Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar, 
Or saw gay vessel stem the watery plain, 
A painted wonder flying on the main ! 
Bear on thy back an oar : with strange amaze 
A shepherd meeting thee, the oar surveys, 
And names a van : there fix it on the plain, 
To calm the god that holds the watery reign ; 
A threefold offering to his altar bring, 
A bull, a ram, a boar; and hail the ocean king. 
But home return'd, to each ethereal power 
Slay the due victim in the genial hour: 
So peaceful shalt thou end thy blissful days, 
And steal thyself from life by slow decays : 
Unknown to pain, in age resign thy breath, 
When b.te stern Neptune points the shaft with death: 
To the dark grave retiring as to rest, 
Thy people blessing, by thy people bless'd ! 



Trinacrian, i. e. three-pointed, an epithet applied to Sicily from its form. 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. l$7 

" Unerring truths, O man, my lips relate ; 
This is thy life to come, and this is fate.' 

"To whom unmoved : If this the gods prepare, 
What Heaven ordains the wise with courage bear. 
But say, why yonder on the lonely strands, 
Unmindful of her son, Anticlea stands ? 
Why to the ground she bends her downcast eye ? 
Why is she silent, while her son is nigh ? 
The latent cause, O sacred seer, reveal ! ' 

" ' Nor this (replies the seer) will I conceal. 
Know, to the spectres that thy beverage taste, 
The scenes of life recur, and actions past : 
They, seal'd with truth, return the sure reply ; 
The rest, repell'd, a train oblivious fly.' 

"The phantom-prophet ceased, and sunk from sight, 
To the black palace of eternal night. 

" Still in the dark abodes of death I stood ( 
When near Anticlea moved, and drank the blood. 
Straight all the mother in her soul awakes, 
And, owning her Ulysses, thus she speaks : 
Comest thou, my son, alive, to realms beneath, 
The dolesome realms of darkness and of death ? 
Comest thou alive from pure, ethereal day ? 
Dire is the region, dismal is the way ! 
Here lakes profound, there floods oppose their waves, 
There the wide sea with all' his billows raves ! 
Or (since to dust proud Troy submits her towers) 
Comest thou a wanderer from the Phrygian shores ? 
Or say, since honor call'd thee to the field, 
Hast thou thy Ithaca, thy bride, beheld ? ' 

" ' Source of my life,' I cried, ' from earth I fly 
To seek Tiresias in the nether sky, 
To learn my doom ; for, toss'd from woe to woe, 
In every land Ulysses finds a foe : 
Nor have these eyes beheld my native shores, 
Since in the dust proud Troy submits her towers. 

" ' But, when thy soul from her sweet mansion fled, 
Say, what distemper gave thee to the dead ? 
Has life's fair lamp declined by slow decays, 
Or swift expired it in a sudden blaze ? 
Say, if my sire, good old Laertes, lives ? 
If yet Telemachus, my son, survives ? 
Say, by his rule is my dominion awed, 
Or crush'd by traitors with an iron rod ? 
Say, if my spouse maintains her royal trust ; 
Though tempted, chaste, and obstinately just? 
Or if no more her absent lord she wails, 



158 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XI. 

But the false woman o'er the wife prevails ? ' 

" Thus I, and thus the parent-shade returns : 
' Thee, ever thee, thy faithful consort mourns: 
Whether the night descends or day prevails, 
Thee she by night, and thee by day bewails. 
Thee in Telemachus thy realm obeys ; 
In sacred groves celestial rites he pays, 
And shares the banquet in superior state, 
Graced with such honors as become the great. 
Thy sire in solitude foments his care : 
The court is joyless, for thou art not there ! 
No costly carpets raise his hoary head, 
No rich embroidery shines to grace his bed ; 
Even when keen winter freezes in the skies, 
Rank'd with his slaves, on earth the monarch lies : 
Deep are his sighs, his visage pale, his dress 
The garb of woe and habit of distress. 
And when the autumn takes his annual round, 
The leafy honors scattering on the ground, 
Regardless of his years, abroad he lies, \ 

His bed the leaves, his canopy the skies. 
Thus cares on cares his painful days consume, 
And bow his age with sorrow to the tomb ! 

" ' For thee, my son, I wept my life away ; 
For thee through hell's eternal dungeons stray: 
Nor came my fate by lingering pains and slow, 
Nor bent the silver-shafted queen her bow ; 
No dire disease bereaved me of my breath ; 
Thou, thou, my son, wert my disease and death; 
Unkindly with my love my son conspired, 
For thee I lived, for absent thee expired.' 

"Thrice in my arms I strove her shade to bind, 
Thrice through my arms she slipped like empty wind, 
Or dreams, the vain illusions of the mind. 
Wild with despair, I shed a copious tide 
Of flowing tears, and thus with sighs replied : 

'" Fliest thou, loved shade, while I thus fondly mourn ? 
Turn to my arms, to my embraces turn ! 
Is it, ye powers that smile at human harms! 
Too great a bliss to weep within her arms? 
Or has hell's queen an empty image sent, 
That wretched I might e'en my joys lament ? ' 

" ' O son of woe,' the pensive shade rejoin'd; 
' O most inured to grief of all mankind ! 
'Tis not the queen of hell who thee deceives ; 
All, all are such, when life the body leaves : 
No more the substance of the man remains, 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. 159 



Nor bounds the blood along the purple veins : 
These the funereal flames in atoms bear, 
To wander with the wind in empty air: 
While the impassive soul reluctant flies, 
Like a vain dream, to these infernal skies. 
But from the dark dominions speed thy way, 
And climb the steep ascent to upper day : 
To thy chaste bride the wondrous story tell, 
The woes, the horrors, and the laws of hell.' 

"Thus while she spoke, in swarms hell's empress brings 
Daughters and wives of heroes and of kings ; 
Thick and more thick they gather round the blood. 
Ghost thronged on ghost (a dire assembly) stood ! 
Dauntless my sword I seize : the airy crew, 
Swift as it flash'd along the gloom, withdrew ; 
Then shade to shade in mutual forms succeeds, 
Her race recounts, and their illustrious deeds. 

"Tyro began, whom great Salmoneus bred ; * 
The royal partner of famed Cretheus' bed. 
For fair Enipeus, as from fruitful urns 
He pours his watery store, the virgin burns ; 
Smooth flows the gentle stream with wanton pride, 
And in soft mazes rolls a silver tide. 
As on his banks the maid enamour'd roves, 
The'monarch of the deep beholds and loves ; 
In her Enipeus' form and borrow'd charms 
The amorous god descends into her arms : 
Around, a spacious arch of waves he throws, 
And hi^h in air the liquid mountain rose ; 
Thus in surrounding floods conceal'd, he proves 
The pleasing transport, and completes his loves. 
Then, softly sighing, he the fair address'd, 
And as he spoke her tender hand he press'd. 
' Hail, happv nymph ! no vulgar births are owed 
To the prolific'raptures of a god : 
Lo ! when nine times the moon renews her horn, 
Two brother heroes shall from thee be born; 
Thy early care the future worthies claim, 
To point them to the arduous paths of fame ; 
But in thy breast the important truth conceal, 
Nor dare the secret of a god reveal: 
For know, thou Neptune view'st ! and at my nod 

Tyro was the daughter of Salmoneus, king of ^hs. Being harshly treated by 
her step-mother, Sidero, she left her father's house, and became enamoured of th 
river Enipeus. Neptune, by assuming the form of her favored lover, gained her 
pff-ctions. and by him she had two ous, Pelias and Neleus. She subsequently mar- 
ried her uncle Cretheus. 



160 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XL 

Earth trembles, and the waves confess their god.' 

" He added not, but mounting spurn'd the plain, 
Then plunged into the chambers of the main. 

"Now in the time's full process forth she brings 
Jove's dread vicegerents in two future kings; 
O'er proud lolcos Pelias stretch'd his reign, 
And godlike Neleus ruled the Pylian plain : 
Then, fruitful, to her Crethe,us' royal bed 
She gallant Pheres and famed ALson bred: 
From the same fountain Amythaon rose, 
Pleased with the din of war, and noble shout of foes. 

" There moved Antiope, with haughty charms, 
Who bless'd the almighty Thunderer in her arms ; 
Hence sprung Amphion, hence brave Zethus came, 
Founders of Thebes, and men of mighty name ; 
Though bold in open field, they yet surround 
The town with walls, and mound inject on mound ; 
Here ramparts stood, there towers rose high in air, 
And here through seven wide portals rush'd the war. 

" There with soft step the fair Alcmena trod, 
Who bore Alcides to the thundering god : 
And Megara, who charm'd the son of Jove,* 
And soften'd his stern soul to tender love. 

"Sullen and sour, with discontented mien, 
Jocasta frown'd, the incestuous Theban queen ; f 
With her own son she join'd in nuptial bands, 
Though father's blood imbrued his murderous hands; 
The gods and men the dire offence detest, 
The gods with all their furies rend his breast; 
In lofty Thebes he wore the imperial crown, 
A pompous wretch ! accursed upon a throne. 
The wife self-murder'd from a beam depends, 
And her foul soul to blackest hell descends ; 
Thence to her son the choicest plagues she brings, 
And the fiends haunt him with a thousand stings. 

"And now the beauteous Chloris I descry, 
A lovely shade, Amphion's youngest joy ! 
With gifts unnumber'd Neleus sought her arms, 
Nor paid too dearly for unequall'd charms ; 
Great in Orchomenos, in Pvlos great, 
He sway'd the sceptre with imperial state. 
Three gallant sons the joyful monarch told, 
Sage Nestor, Periclimenus the bold, 
And Chromius last ; but of the softer race, 

* Megara, the wife of Hercules, slain by him during his madness. 
t Jocasta, mother and wife of CEdipus. 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. 161 

One nymph alone, a miracle of grace. 
Kings on their thrones for lovely Pero burn ; 
The sire denies, and kings rejected mourn. 
To him alone the beauteous prize he yields, 
Whose arm should ravish from Phylacian fields 
The herds of Iphyclus, detain'd in wrong; 
Wild, furious herds, unconquerably strong ! 
This dares a seer, but nought the seer prevails, 
In beauty's cause illustriously he fails ; 
.Twelve moons the foe the captive youth detains 
In painful dungeons, and coercive chains ; 
The foe at last from durance where he lay, 
His heart revering, give him back to day; 
Won by prophetic knowledge, to fulfil 
The steadfast purpose of the Almighty will. 

" With graceful port advancing now I spied, 
Leda the fair, the godlike Tyndar's bride : 
Hence Pollux sprung, who wields with furious sway 
The deathful gauntlet, matchless in the fray; 
And Castor, glorious on the embattled plain, 
Curbs the proud steeds^ reluctant to the rein 
By turns they visit this ethereal sky,* 
And live alternate, and alternate die : 
In hell beneath, on earth, in heaven above, 
Reign the twin-gods, the favorite sons of Jove. 

"There Ephimedia trod the gloomy plain, 
Who charm'd the monarch of the boundless main: 
Hence Ephialtes, hence stern Otus sprung, 
More fierce than giants, more than giants strong; 
The earth o'erburden'd groan'd beneath their weight, 
None but Orion e'er surpass'd their height : 
The wondrous youths had scarce nine winters told, 
When high in air, tremendous to behold, 
Nine ells aloft they rear'd their towering head, 
And full nine cubits broad their shoulders spread. 
Proud of their strength, and more than mortal size, 
The gods they challenge, and affect the skies : 
Heaved on Olympus tottering Ossa stood ; 
On Ossa, Pelion nods with all his wood. 

* By turns. " Another very remarkable feature of distinction in the Odyssey is 
the appearance, for the first time, of the system of apotheosis of acknowledged mor- 
tals ; a doctrine which became strictly orthodox in later apes, and remained so until 
the establishment of Christianity, but of which no traces what-ver are perceptible in 
the Iliad. This is so singular an innovation, that it deserves very particular attention, 
and may seem almost to demonstrate the fact cf a considerable lapse of time frrm tho 
composition of the elder poem. ID the Iliad, Castor and Pollux are mentioned in 
the ordinary language denoting common death and burial, and o more. In the 
Odyssey we havu tho account of their alternate resuscitation, which dually became 
the popular fable." Coleridge, p. 236, seq. 
II 



1 62 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XI. 

Such were they youths ! had they to manhood grown, 
Almighty Jove had trembled on his throne : 
But ere the harvest of the beard began 
To bristle on the chin, and promise man, 
His shafts Apollo aim'd; at once they sound, 
And stretch the giant monsters o'er the ground. 

" There mournful Phaedra with sad Procris moves, 
Both beauteous shades, both hapless in their loves; 
And near them walk'd, with solemn pace and slow, 
Sad Ariadne, partner of their woe : 
The royal Minos Ariadne bred, 
She Theseus loved, from Crete with Theseus fled : 
Swift to the Dian isle the hero flies, 
And towards his Athens bears the lovely prize ; 
There Bacchus with fierce rage Diana fires, 
The goddess aims her shaft, the nymph expires. 

" There Clymene and Mera I behold, 
There Eriphyle weeps, who loosely sold 

Her lord, her honor, for the lust of gold. 
But should I all recount, the night would fail, 

Unequal to the melancholy tale : 

And all-composing rest my nature craves, 

Here, in the court, or yonder on the waves ; 

In you I trust, and in the heavenly powers, 

To land Ulysses on his native shores." 

He ceased ; but left so charming on their ear 

His voice, that listening still they seem'd to hear, 

Till, rising up, Arete silence broke, 

Stretch 'd out her snowy hand, and thus she spoke: 
" What wondrous man heaven sends us in our guest ; 

Through all his woes the hero shines confess'd ; 

His comely port, his ample frame express 

A manly air, majestic in distress. 

He, as my guest, is my peculiar care : 

You share the pleasure, then in bounty share ; 

To worth in misery a reverence pay, 

And with a generous hand reward his stay ; 

For since kind heaven with wealth our realm has bless'd, 

Give it to heaven by aiding the distress'd." 

Then sage Echeneus, whose grave reverend brow 

The Ifand of time had silvered o'er with snow, 

Mature in wisdom rose : " Your words (he cries) 

Demand obedience, for your words are wise. 

But let our king direct the glorious way 

To generous acts ; our part is to obey." 

"While life informs these limbs (the king replied), 

Well to deserve, be all my cares employed : 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. 163 

But here this night the royal guest detain, 
Till the sun flames along the ethereal plain. 
Be it my task to send with ample stores 
The stranger from our hospitable shores : 
Tread you my steps ! 'Tis mine to lead the race, 
The first in glory, as the first in place." 

To whom the prince: "This night with joy I stay; 
O monarch great in virtue as in sway! 
If thou the circling year my stay control, 
To raise a bounty noble as thy soul ; 
The circling year I wait, with'ampler stores 
And fitter pomp to hail my native shores : 
Then by my realms due homage would be paid ; 
For wealthy kings are loyally obey'd ! " 

" O king ! for such thou art, and sure thy blood 
Through veins (he cried) of royal fathers flow'd : 
Unlike those vagrants who on falsehood live, 
Skill'd in smooth tales, and artful to deceive ; 
Thy better soul abhors the liar's part, 
Wise is thy voice, and noble is thy heart. 
Thy words like music every breast control, 
Ste'al through the ear, and win upon the soul ; 
Soft, as some song divine, thy story flows, 
Nor better could the Muse record thy woes. 

" But say, upon the dark and dismal coast, 
Saw'st thou the worthies ot the Grecian host ? 
The godlike leaders who, in battle slain, 
Fell before Troy, and nobly press'd the plain ? 
And lo ! a length of night behind remains, 
The evening stars still mount the ethereal plains. 
Thy tale with raptures I could hear thee tell, 
Thy woes on earth, the wondrous scenes in hell, 
Till in the vault of heaven the stars decay, 
And the sky reddens with the rising day." 

"O worthy of the power the gods assign'd 
(Ulysses thus replies), a king in mind : 
Since yet the early hour of night allows 
Time for discourse, and time for soft repose, 
If scenes of misery can entertain, 
Woes I unfold, of woes a dismal- train. 
Prepare to hear of murder and of blood ; 
Of godlike heroes who uninjured stood 
Amidst a war of spears in foreign lands, 
Yet bled at home, and bled by female hands. 

"Now summon'd Proserpine to hell's black hall 
The heroine shades : they vanish'd at her call. 
When lo ! advanced the forms of heroes slain 



164 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XI. 

By Stern yEgysthus, a majestic train : 

And, high above the rest, Atrides press'd the plain. 

He quaff'd the gore ; and straight his soldier knew, 

And from his eyes pour'd down the tender dew: 

His arms he stretch 'd ; his arms the touch deceive, 

Nor in the fond embrace, embraces give : 

His substance vanish'd, and his strength decay'd, 

Now all Atrides is an empty shade. 

" Moved at the sight, I for a space resign'd 
To soft affliction all my manly mind ; 
At last with tears : ' O what relentless doom, 
Imperial phantom, bow'd thee to the tomb ? 
Say while the sea, and while the tempest raves, 
Has Fate oppress'd thee in the roaring waves, 
Or nobly seized thee in the dire alarms 
Of war and slaughter, and the clash of arms ? ' 

" The ghost returns : ' O chief of humankind 
For active courage and a patient mind ; 
Nor while the sea, nor while the tempest raves, 
Has Fate oppress'd me on the roaring waves ! 
Nor nobly seized me in the dire alarms 
Of war and slaughter, and the clash of arms. 
Stabb'd by a murderous hand Atrides died, 
A foul adulterer, and a faithless bride ; 
E'en in my mirth, and at the friendly feast, 
O'er the full bowl, the traitor stabb'd his guest; 
Thus by the gory arm of slaughter falls 
The stately ox, and bleeds within the stalls. 
But not with me the direful murder ends, 
These, these expired ! their crime, they were my friends: 
Thick as the boars, which some luxurious lord 
Kills for the feast, to crown the nuptial board. 
When war has thunder'd with its loudest storms, 
Death thou hast seen in all her ghastly forms ; 
In duel met her on the listed ground, 
When hand to hand they wound return for wound ; 
But never have thy eyes astonish 'd view'd 
So vile a deed, so dire a scene of blood. 
E'en in the flow of joy, when now the bowl 
Glows in our veins, and opens every soul, 
We groan, we faint; with blood the dome is dyed, 
And o'er the pavement floats the dreadful tide 
Her breast all gore, with lamentable. cries, 
The bleeding innocent Cassandra dies ! 
Then though pale death froze cold in every vein, 
My sword I strive to wield, but strive in vain; 
Nor did my traitress wife these eyelids close, 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. 165 

Or decently in death my limbs compose. 

O woman, woman, when to ill thy mind 

Is bent, all hell contains no fouler fiend : 

And such was mine ! who basely plunged her sword 

Through the fond bosom where she reign'd adored ! 

Alas! I hoped, the toils of waro'ercome, 

To meet soft quiet and repose at home ; 

Delusive hope ! O wife, thy deeds disgrace 

The perjured sex, and blacken all the race ; 

And should posterity one virtuous find, 

Name Clytemnestra, they will curse the kind.' 

" Oh injured shade (I cried), what mighty woes 
To thy imperial race from woman rose i 
By woman here thou tread'st this mournful strand, 
And Greece by woman lies a desert land.' 

" ' Warn'd by my ills beware (the shade replies), 
Nor trust the sex that is so rarely wise : 
When earnest to explore thy secret breast, 
Unfold some trifle, but conceal the rest. 
But in thy consort cease to fear a foe, 
For thee she feels sincerity of woe : 
When Troy first bled beneath the Grecian arms, 
She shone unrivall'd with a blaze of charms; 
Thy infant son her fragrant bosom press'd, 
Hung at her knee, or wanton'd at her breast ; 
But now the years a numerous train have run : 
The blooming bov is ripen'd into man : 
Thy eyes shall see him burn with noble fire, 
The sire shall bless his son, the son his sire : 
But my Orestes never met these eyes, 
Without one look the murder'd father dies ; 
Then from a wretched friend this wisdom learn, 
E'en to thy queen disguised, unknown, return ; 
For since of womankind so few are just, 
Think all are false, nor e'en the faithful trust. 

" ' But say, resides my son in royal port, 
In rich Orchomenos, or Sparta's court? 
Or say in Pyle ? for yet he views the light, 
Nor glides a phantom through the realms of night.' 

' Then I : ' Thy suit is vain, nor can I say 
If yet he breathes in realms of cheerful day; 
Or pale or wan beholds these nether skies : 
Truth I revere, for wisdom never lies.' 

" Thus in the tide of tears our sorrows flow, 
And add new horror to the realms of woe ; 
Till side by side along the dreary coast 
Advanced Achilles' and Patroclus' ghost, 



166 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XI. 

A friendly pair ! near these the Pylian stray'd,* 
And towering Ajax, an illustrious shade ! 
War was his joy, and pleased with loud alarms, 
None but Pelides brighter shone in arms. 

" Through the thick gloom, his friend Achilles knew, 
And as he speaks the -tears descend in dew. 

" ' Comest thou alive to view the Stygian bounds, 
Where the wan spectres walk eternal rounds ; 
Norfear'st the dark and dismal waste to tread, 
Throng'd with pale ghosts, familiar with the dead ? ' 

" To whom with sighs : ' I pass these dreadful gates, 
To seek the Theban, and consult the Fates: 
For still, distress'd, I rove from coast to coast, 
Lost to my friends, and to my country lost. 
But sure the eye of Time beholds no name 
So bless.'d as thine in all the rolls of fame ; 
Alive we hail'd thee with our guardian gods, 
And dead thou rulest a king in these abodes.' 

"'Talk not of ruling in this dolorous gloom, 
Nor think vain words (he cried) can ease my doom. 
Rather I'd choose laboriously to bear 
A weight of woes, and breathe the vital air, 
A slave to some poor hind that toils for bread, 
Than reign the sceptred monarch of the dead, f 
But say, if in my steps my son proceeds. 
And emulates his godlike father's deeds ? 
If at the clash of arms, and shout of foes, 
Swells his bold heart, his bosom nobly glows ? 
Say if my sire, the reverend Peleus, reigns, 
Great in his Phthja, and his throne maintains; 
Or, weak and old, my youthful arm demands, 
To fix the sceptre stedfast in his hands ? 
O might the lamp of life rekindled burn, 
And death release me from the silent urn i 



t " The whole of the Necyomanteia is remarkable for the dreary and even terrible 
revelations which it makes of the condition of the future life. All is cold and dark ; 
hunger and thirst and discontent prevail ; we hear nothing of Elysian fields for piety, 
or wisdom, or valor ; and there is something quite deadening in the answer of the 
hade of Achilles to the consolation of Ulysses. This is one of the passages which 
Called down the censure of Plato ; and, indeed, how cheering a contrast to this 
gloomy picture is presented by the gentle and pious imacination of Pindar! 
" ' Thee to the Elysian plain, earth's farthest end, 
Where Rhadamanthus dwells, the gods shall send ; 
Where mortals easiest pass the careless hour ; 
No lingering winters there, nnr snow nor shower ; 
But ocean ever, to refresh minkind, 
Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind.' " 

" Moore's Translation." Coleridge, p. 241, seq. 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. 167 

This arm, that thunder'd o'er the Phrygian plain, 
And swell'd the ground with mountains of the slain, 
Should vindicate my injured father's fame. 
Crush the proud rebel, and assert his claim.' 

" ' Illustrious shade (I cried), of Peleus' fates 
No circumstance the voice of Fame relates : 
But hear with pleased attention the renown, 
The wars and wisdom of thy gallant son. 
With me from Scyros to the field of fame 
Radiant in arms the blooming hero came. 
When Greece assembled all her hundred states, 
To ripen counsels, and decide debates, 
Heavens'! how he charm'd us with a flow of sense, 
And won the heart with manly eloquence ! 
He first was seen of all the peers to rise, 
The third in wisdom, where they all were wise 
But when, to try the fortune of the day, 
Host moved toward host in terrible array, 
Before the van, impatient for the fight, 
With martial port he strode, and stern delight: 
Heaps strew'd on heaps beneath his falchion groan'd, 
And monuments of dead deform'd the ground. 
The time would fail should I in order tell 
What foes were vanquish'd, and what numbers fell : 
How, lost through love, Eurypylus was slain, 
And round him bled his bold Cetaean train, 
To Troy no hero came of nobler line, 
Or if of nobler, Memnon, it was thine. 

" When Ilion in the horse received her doom, 
And unseen armies arnbush'd in its womb, 
Greece gave her latent warriors to my care, 
'Twas mine on Troy to pour the imprison'd war : 
Then when the boldest bosom beat with fear, 
When the stern eyes of heroes dropp'd a tear, 
Fierce in his look his ardent valor glow'd, 
Flush'd in his cheek, or sallied in his blood; 
Indignant in the dark recess he stands,- 
Pants for the battle, and the war demands : 
His voice breathed death, and with a martial air 
He grasp'd his sword, and shook his glittering spear. 
And when the gods our arms with conquest crown'd, 
When Troy's proud bulwarks smoked upon the ground, 
Greece, to reward her soldier's gallant toils, 
Heap'd high his navy with unnumber'd spoils. 

" Thus great in glory, from the din of war 
Safe he return'd, without one hostile scar; 
Though spears in iron tempests rain'd around, 



168 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XI. 

Yet innocent they play'd, and guiltless of a wound.' 

"While yet I spoke, the shade with transport glow'd. 
Rose in his majesty, and nobler trod ; 
With haughty stalk he sought the distant glades 
Of warrior kings, and join'd the illustrious shades. 

" Now without number ghost by ghost arose, 
All wailing with unutterable woes. 
Alone, apart, in discontented mood, 
A gloomy shade, the sullen Ajax stood ; 
Forever sad, with proud disdain he pined, 
And the lost arms forever stung his mind ; 
Though to the contest Thetis gave the laws, 
And Pallas, by the Trojans, judged the cause. 
O why was I victorious in the strife ? 
O dear-bought honor with so brave a life ! 
With him the strength of war, the soldier's pride, 
Our second hope to great Achilles, died ! 
Touch 'd at the sight from tears I scarce refrain, 
And tender sorrow thrills in every vein; 
Pensive and sad I stand, at length accost 
With accents mild the inexorable ghost ; 
' Still burns thy rage ? and can brave souls resent 
E'en after death ? Relent, great shade, relent 
Perish those arms which by the gods' decree 
Accursed our army with the loss of thee ! 
With thee we fell : Greece wept thy hapless fates, 
And shook astonish'd through her hundred states ; 
Not more, when great Achilles press'd the ground, 
And breathed his manly spirit through the wound. 
O deem thy fall not owed to man's decree, 
Jove hated Greece, and punish'd Greece in thee ! 
Turn then, oh peaceful turn, thy wrath control, 
And calm the raging tempest of thy soul.' 

"While yet I speak, the shade disdains to stay, 
In silence turns, and sullen stalks away. 

" Touch'd at his sour retreat, through deepest night, 
Through hell's black bounds I had pursued his flight, 
And forced the stubborn spectre to reply ; 
But wondrous visions drew my curious eye. 
High on a throne, tremendous to behold, 
Stern Minos waves a mace of burnish'd gold ; 
Around ten thousand thousand spectres stand 
Through the wide dome of Dis, a trembling band. 
Still as they plead, the fatal lots he rolls, 
Absolves the just, and dooms the guilty souls. 

" The huge Orion, of portentous size. 
Swift through the gloom a giant-hunter flies : 



BOOK XL] THE ODYSSEY. 169 

A ponderous mace of brass with direful sway 
Aloft he whirls, to crush the savage prey! 
Stern beasts in trains that by his truncheon fell, 
Now grisly forms, shoot o'er the lawns of hell. 

" There Tityus large and long, in fetters bound,* 
O'erspreads nine acres of infernal ground; 
Two ravenous vultures, furious for their food, 
Scream o'er the fiend, and riot in his blood, 
Incessant gore the liver in his breast, 
The immortal live/grows, and gives the immortal feast. 
For as o'er Panope's enamell'd plains 
Latona journey'd to the Pythian fanes, 
With haughty'love the audacious monster strove 
To force the goddess, and to rival Jove. 

" There Tantalus along the Stygian bounds 
Pours out deep groans (with groans all hell resounds); 
E'en in the circling floods refreshment craves, 
And pines with thirst amidst a sea of waves ; 
When to the water he his lips applies, 
Back from his lip the treacherous water flies. 
Above, beneath, around his hapless head, 
Trees of all kinds delicious fruitage spread ; 
There figs, sky-dyed, a purple hue disclose, 
Green looks the olive, the pomegranate glows: 
There dangling pears exalting scents unfold, 
And yellow apples ripen into gold ; % 

The fruit he strives to seize ; but blasts arise, 
Toss it on high, and whirl it to the skies. 

" I turn'd my eye, and as I turn'd survey'd 
A mournful vision ! the Sisyphian shade : 
With many a weary step, and many a groan, 
Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone ; f 
The huge round stone, resulting with a bound, 
Thunders impetuous down, and smokes along the ground. 
Again the restless orb his toil renews, 
Dust mounts in clouds, and sweat descends in dews. 

" Now I the strength of Hercules behold, \ 



* Tityus, the son of Terra, or, according to some accounts, of Jupiter, by Elara, 
daughter of Orchoinenus. He attempted to offer violence to Latona, but was shot 
dead by her children, and punished in hell in the manner which Homer here 
describes. 

t Uf> the high hill, &c. The metrical beauty of these lines, in expressing the 
cli.Ticiih ascent and rapid f.ill of the'stone, has been repeatedly noticed. 

t Hercules. " So in that uncommonly splendid passage in the Necyomanteia 
which has been called spurious, where Ulysses sees Hercules, the apotheosis of the 
hero is expressly mentioned, and the inconceivable distinction between the Idolon 
and the Self of the translated mortal is laid down." Coleridge, p. 237. 



1 70 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XI. 

A towering spectre of gigantic mould, 

A shadowy form ! for high in heaven's abodes 

Himself resides, a god among the gods ; 

There, in the bright assemblies of the skies, 

He nectar quaffs, and Hebe crowns his joys. 

Here hovering ghosts, like fowl, his shade surround, 

And clang their pinions with terrific sound; 

Gloomy as night he stands, in act to throw 

The aerial arrow from the twanging bow. 

Around his breast a wondrous zone is roll'd, 

Where woodland monsters grin in fretted gold : 

There sullen lions sternly seem to roar, 

The bear to growl, to foam the tusky boar ; 

There war and havoc and destruction stood, 

And vengeful murder red with human blood. 

Thus terribly adorn'd the figures shine, 

Inimitably wrought with skill divine. 

The mighty ghost advanced with awful look, 

And, turning his grim visage, sternly spoke : 

" ' O exercised in grief ! by arts refined : 
O taught to bear the wrongs of base mankind ! 
Such, such was I ! still toss'd from care to care, 
While in your world I drew the vital air ! 
E'en I, who from the Lord of Thunder* rose, 
Bore toils and dangers, and a weight of woes: 
To a base monarch still a slave confined, 
(The hardest bondage to a generous mind !) 
Down to these worlds I trod the dismal way, 
And dragg'd the three-mouth'd dog to upper day ; 
E'en hell I conquer'd, through the friendly aid 
Of Maia's offspring, and the martial maid.'* 

" Thus he, nor deign'd for our reply to stay, 
But, turning, stalk'd with giant strides away. 
" Curious to view the kings of ancient days, 
The mighty dead that live in endless praise, 
Resolved I stand ; and haply had survey'd 
The godlike Theseus, and Pirithous' shade ; 
But swarms of spectres rose from deepest hell, 
' With bloodless visage, and with hideous yell. 
They scream, they shriek; and groans and dismal sounds 
Stun my scared ears, and pierce hell's utmost bounds. 
No more my heart the dismal din sustains, 
And my cold blood hangs shivering in my veins; 
Lest Gorgon, rising from the infernal lakes, 
With horrors arm'd, and curls of hissing snakes, 

* Maia's offspring, Mercury. 



B60K XI. 1 THE ODYSSEY. 



Should fix me stiffen'd at the monstrous sight, 

A stony image, in eternal night ! 

Straight fEom the direful coast to purer air 

I speed my flight, and to my mates repair. 

My mates ascend the ship ; they strike their oars ; 

The mountains lessen, and retreat the shores ; 

Swift o'er the waves we fly ; the freshening gales 

Sing through the shrouds, and stretch the swelling sails. 



THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XII. 



BOOK XII. 

ARGUMENT. 



THB SIRENS, 



He relates how, after his return from the shades, he was sent by Circe on his voyage, 
by the coast of the Sirens, and by the strait of Scylla and Charybdis : the manner 
in which he escaped those dangers \ how, being cast on the island Trinacria, his 
companions destroyed the oxen of the Sun ; the vengeance that followed ; how all 
perished by shipwreck except himself, who, swimming on the mast of the ship, 
arrived on the island of Calypso. With which his narration concludes. 

"THUS o'er the rolling surge *the vessel flies, 
Till from the waves the ^aean hills arise. 
Here the gay Morn resides in radiant bowers, 
Here keeps her revels with the dancing Hours ; 
Here Phoebus, rising in the ethereal way, 
Through heaven's bright portals pours the beamy day. 
At once we fix our halsers on the land, 
At once descend, and press the desert sand ; 
There, worn and wasted, lose our cares in sleep, 
To the hoarse murmurs of the rolling deep. 

" Soon as the morn restored the day, we paid 
Sepulchral honors to Elpenor's shade. 
Now by the axe the rushing forest bends, 
And the huge pile along the shore ascends. 
Around we stand, a melancholy train, 
And a loud groan re-echoes from the main. 
Fierce o'er the pyre, by fanning breezes spread, 
The hungry flames devour the silent dead. 
A rising tomb, the silent dead to grace, 
Fast by the roarings of the main we place ; 
The rising tomb a loftv column bore, 
And high above it rose the tapering oar. 

" Meantime the goddess our return survey'd 
From the pale ghosts and hell's tremendous shade. 
Swift she descends : a train of nymphs divine 
Bear the rich viands and the generous wine : 
In act to speak the power of magic stands, 
And graceful thus accosts the listening bands : 

" ' O sons of woe ! decreed by adverse fates 
Alive to pass through hell's eternal gates ! 



BOOK XII.] THE ODYSSEY. 1 73 



All, soon or late, are doom'd that path to tread; 
More wretched you ! twice number'd with the dead ! 
This day adjourn your cares, exalt your souls, 
Indulge the taste, and drain the sparkling bowls ; 
And when the morn unveils her saffron ray, 
Spread your broad sails, and plough the liquid way 
Lo, I this night, your faithful guide, explain 
Your woes by land, your dangers on the main.' 

"The goddess spoke. In feasts we waste the day, 
Till Phcebus downward plunged his burning ray : 
Then sable night ascends, and balmy rest 
Seals every eye, and calms the troubled breast. 
Then curious she commands me to relate 
The dreadful scenes of Pluto's dreary state. 
She sat in silence while the tale I tell, 
The wondrous visions and the laws of hell. 
" Then thus : ' The lot of man the gods dispose ; 
These ills are past : now hear thy future woes. 
O prince attend; some favoring power be kind, 
And print the important story on thy mind ! 

" ' Next, where the Sirens dwell, you plough the seas ; 
Their song is death, and makes destruction please. 
Unblest the man, whom music wins to stay 
Nigh the cursed shore, and listen to the lay. 
No more that wretch shall view the joys of life, 
His blooming offspring, or his beauteous wife ! 
In verdant meads they sport ; and wide around 
Lie human bones that whiten all the ground : 
The ground polluted floats with human gore, 
And human carnage taints the dreadful shore. 
Fly swift the dangerous coast ; let every ear 
Be stopp'd against the song! 'tis death 'to hear! 
Firm to the mast with chains thyself be bound, 
Nor trust thy virtue to the enchanting sound. 
If, mad with transport, freedom thou demand, 
Be every fetter strain 'd, and added band to band. 

" ' These seas o'erpass'd, be wise ! but I refrain 
To mark distinct thy voyage o'er the main : 
New horrors rise ! let prudence be thy guide, 
And guard thy various passage through the tide. 

" ' High o'er the main two rocks exalt their brow,* 

* Two rocks. The Symplegades are meant ; two small, rugped islands at the en- 
trance of the Luxine ; one near the European, the other nenr the Asiatic side. It 
was anciently supposed that these islands floated about, and sometimes united in order 
to crush the vessels which chanced at the time to be passing through the straits It 
is also said (Pindar, Pyth. iv-), that they were endued with animation, and moved to 
and fro, more rapidly than the wind, until their death was achieved by the successful 
passage of the Argo between them. 



174 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK X II. 

The boiling billows thundering roll below ; 
Through the vast waves the dreadful wonders move, 
Hence named Erratic by the gods above. 
No bird of air, no dove of swiftest wing, 
That bears ambrosia to the ethereal king, 
Shuns the dire rocks : in vain she cuts the skies : 
The dire rocks meet, and crush her as she flies : 
Not the fleet bark, when prosperous breezes play, 
Ploughs o'er that roaring surge its desperate way ; 
O'erwhelm'd it sinks : while round a smoke expires, 
And the waves flashing seem to burn with fires. 
Scarce the famed Argo pass'd these raging floods, 
The sacred Argo, fill'd with demigods ! 
E'en she had sunk, but Jove's imperial bride 
Wing'd her fleet sail, and puslvd her o'er the tide. 

" ' High in the air the rock its summit shrouds 
In brooding tempests, and in rolling clouds 
Loud storms around, and mists eternal rise, 
Beat its bleak brow, and intercept the skies. 
When all the broad expansion, bright with day, 
Glows with the autumnal or the summer ray, 
The summer and the autumn glow in vain, 
The sky forever lowers, forever clouds remain. 
. Impervious to the step of man it stands, 

Though borne by twenty feet, though arm'd with twenty 

hands; 

Smooth as the polish of the mirror rise 
The slippery sides, and shoot into the skies, 
Full in the centre of this rock display'd, 
A yawning cavern casts a dreadful shade : 
Nor the fleet arrow from the twanging bow, 
Sent with full force, could reach the depth below. 
Wide to the west the horrid gulf extends, 
And the dire passage down to hell descends. 
O fly the dreadful sight ! expand thy sails, 
Ply the strong oar, and catch the nimble gales ; 
Here Scylla bellows from the dire abodes,* 
Tremendous pest, abhorr'd by man and gods ! 
Hideous her voice, and with less terrors roar 
The whelps of lions in the midnight hour. 

* ScyHa, daughter of Typho, or Phorcys, was beloved by Glaucus, one of the sea 
deities, whose addresses she scorned. He applied to Circe, wishing to obtain a love 
potion calculated to ensure her affections, but Circe herstlf fell in love with the god, 
and poured some poisons into the water in which Scylla bathed. No sooner had the 
nymph touched the place, than the horrid transformation described by Homer toolc 
place ; in despair she flung herself into the sea, between the coasts of Italy and 
Sicily, where she was changed into a mass of rocks, which, like the opposite whirlpool 
of Charybdis, were greatly dreaded by sailors. 



BOOK XII.] THE ODYSSEY. 1 75 

Twelve feet, deform'd and foul, the fiend dispreads ; 

Six horrid necks she rears, and six terrific heads ; 

Her jaws grin dreadful with three rows of teeth ; 

Jaggy they stand, the gaping den of death ; 

Her parts obscene the raging billows hide ; 

Her bosom terribly o'er looks the tide. 

When stung with hunger she embroils the flood, 

The sea-dog and the dolphin are her food ; 

She makes the huge leviathan her prey, 

And all the monsters of the watery way; 

The swiftest racer of the azure plain 

Here fills her sails, and spreads her oars in vain ; 

Fell Scylla rises, in her fury roars, 

At once six mouths expands, at once six men devours. 

" ' Close by, a rock of less enormous height 
Breaks the wild waves, and forms a dangerous strait; 
Full on its crown a fig's green branches rise, 
And shoot a leafy forest to the skies ; 
Beneath, Charybdis holds her boisterous reign 
'Midst roaring whirlpools, and absorbs the main ; 
Thrice in her gulfs the boiling seas subside, 
Thrice in dire tiiunders she refunds the tide. 
Oh, if thy vessel plough the direful waves, 
When seas retreating roar within her caves, 
Ye perish all ! though he who rules the main 
Lends his strong aid, his aid he lends in vain. 
Ah, shun the horrid gulf ! by Scylla fly, 
'Tis better six to lose, than all to die.' 

" I then : ' O nymph propitious to my prayer, 
Goddess divine, my guardian power, declare, 
Is the foul fiend from human vengeance freed? 
Or, if I rise in arms, can Scylla bleed ? ' 

" Then she : ' O worn by toils, O broke in fight, 
Still are new toils and war thy dire delight ? 
Will martial flames forever fire thy mind, 
And never, never be to Heaven resign'd ? 
How vain thy efforts to avenge the wrong! 
Deathless the pest ! impenetrably strong ! 
Furious and fell, tremendous to behold ! 
E'en with a look she withers all the bold ! 
She mocks the weak attempts of human might* 
Oh. fly her rage ! thy conquest is thy flight. 
If but to seize thy arms thou make delay, 
Again thy fury vindicates her prey ; 
Her six mouths yawn, and six are snatch'd away. 
P'rom her foul wound Crataeis gave to air 
This dreadful pest ! To her direct thy prayer, 



176 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XII. 

To curb the monster in her dire abodes. 
And guard thee through the tumult of the floods. 
Thence to Trinacria's shore you bend your way, 
Where graze thy herds, illustrious source of day ! 
Seven herds, seven flocks enrich the sacred plains, 
Each herd, each flock full fifty heads contains; 
The wondrous kind a length of age survey, 
By breed increase not, nor by death decay. 
Two sister goddesses possess the plain, 
The constant guardians of the woolly train : 
Lampetie fair, and Phaethusa young, 
From Phoebus and the bright Neaera sprung: 
Here, watchful o'er the flocks, in shady bowers 
And flowery meads, they waste the joyous hours. 
Rob not the god ! and so propitious gales 
Attend thy voyage, and impel thy sails ; 
But if thy impious hands the flocks destroy, 
The gods, the gods avenge it, and ye die ! 
'Tis thine alone (thy friends and navy lost) 
Through tedious toils to view thy native coast.' 

" She ceased : and now arose the morning ray; 
Swift to her dome the goddess held her way. 
Then to my mates I measured back the plain, 
Climb'd the tall bark, and rush'd into the main ; 
Then, bending to the stroke, their oars they drew 
To their broad breasts, and s wift the galley flew. 
Up sprung a brisker breeze ; with freshening gales 
The friendly goddess stretch'd the swelling sails ; 
We drop our oars ; at ease the pilot guides ; 
The vessel light along the level glides. 
When, rising sad and slow, with pensive look, 
Thus to the melancholy train I spoke : 

" 'O friends, oh ever partners of my woes. 
Attend while I what Heaven foredooms disclose. 
Hear all ! Fate hangs o'er all ; on you it lies 
To live or perish ! to be safe, be wise ! 

"'In flowery meads the sportive Sirens play 
Touch the soft lyre, and tune the vocal lay ; 
Me, me alone, with fetters firmly bound, 
The gods allow to hear the dangerous sound. 
Hear and obey ; if freedom I demand, 
Be everv fetter strain'd. be added band to band.' 

" While yet I speak the winged galley flies, 
And lo ! the Siren shores like mists arise. 
Sunk were at once the winds ; the air above, 
And waves below, at once forgot to move : 
Some demon calm'd the air and smooth 'd the deep, 



BOOK XII] THE ODYSSEY. 177 

Hush'd the loud winds, and charm'd the waves to sleep. 
Now every sail we furl, each oar we ply : 
Lash'd by the stroke, the frothy waters fly. 
The ductile wax with busy hands 1 mould, 
And cleft in fragments, and the fragments roll'd : 
The aerial region now grew warm with day, 
The wax dissolved beneath the burning ray ; 
Then every ear I barr'd against the strain, 
And from access of frenzy lock'd the brain. 
Now round the masts my mates the fetters roll'd, 
And bound me limb by limb with fold on fold. 
Then bending to the stroke, the active train 
Plunge all at once their oars, and cleave the main. 

" While to the shore the rapid vessel flies, 
Our swift approach the Siren choir descries ; 
Celestial music warbles from their tongue, 
And thus the sweet deluders tune the song: 

"'Oh stay, O pride of Greece ! Ulysses stay ! 
Oh cease thy course, and listen to our lay ! 
Blest is the man orcl ain'd our voice to hear, 
The song instructs the soul, and charms the ear. 
Approach ! thy soul shall into raptures rise ! 
Approach ! and leain new wisdom from the wise ! 
We know whate'er the kings of mighty name 
Achieved at llion in the field of fame; 
Whate'er beneath the sun's bright journey lies. 
Oh stay, and learn new wisdom from the wise ! ' 

" Thus the sweet charmers warbled o'er the main ; 
My soul takes wing to meet the heavenly strain ; 
I give the sign, and struggle to be free : 
Swift row my mates, and shoot along the sea ; 
New chains they add, and rapid urge the way, 
Till, dying off, the distant sounds decay: 
Then scudding swiftly from the dangerous ground, 
The deafen'd ear unlock'd, the chains unbound. 

" Now all at once tremendous scenes unfold ; 
Thunder'd the deeps, the smoky billows roll'd ! 
Tumultuous waves embroil the bellowing flood, 
All trembling, deafen'd, and aghast we stood ! 
No more the vessel plough'd the dreadful wave, 
Fear seized the mighty, and unnerved the brave ; 
Each dropp'd his oar : but swift from man to man 
With looks serene I turn'd, and thus began : 
' O friends ! O often tried in adverse storms ! 
With ills familiar in more dreadful forms ! 
Deep in the dire Cyclopean den you lay, 
Yet safe return'd Ulysses led the way. 

12 



1 78 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XII. 

Learn cou r age hence, and in my care confide : 
Lo ! still the same Ulysses is your guide. 
Attend my words ! your oars incessant ply ; 
Strain every nerve, and bid the vessel fly. 
If from yon justling rocks and wavy war 
Jove safety grants, he grants it to your care. 
And thou, whose guiding hand directs our way 
Pilot, attentive listen and obey ! 
Bear wide thy course, nor plough those angry waves 
Where rolls yon smoke, yon tumbling ocean raves : 
Steer by the higher rock ; lest whirl'd around 
We sink, beneath the circling eddy drown'd.' 
While yet I speak, at once their oars they seize, 
Stretch to the stroke, and brush the working seas. 
Cautious the name of Scylla I suppress'd ; 
That dreadful sound had chill'd the boldest breast. 

" Meantime, forgetful of the voice divine, ' 
All dreadful bright my limbs in armor shine ; 
High on the deck I take my dangerous stand, 
Two glittering javelins lighten in my hand ; 
Prepared to whirl the whizzing spear I stay, 
Till the fell fiend arise to seize her prey. 
Around the dungeon, studious to behold 
The hideous pest, my laboring eyes 1 roll'd ; 
In vain ! the dismal dungeon, dark as night, 
Veils the dire monster, and confounds the sight. 

" Now through the rocks, appall'd with deep dismay, 
We bend our course, and stem the desperate way ; 
Dire Scylla there a scene of horror forms, 
And here Charybdis fills the deep with storms. 
When the tide rushing from her rumbling caves, 
The rough rock roars, tumultuous boil the waves ; 
They toss, they foam, a wild confusion raise, 
Like waters bubbling o'er the fiery blaze ; 
Eternal mists obscure the aerial plain, 
And high above the rock she spouts the main : 
When in her gulfs the rushes sea subsides, 
She drains the ocean with the refluent tides : 
The rock re-bellows with a thundering sound ; 
Deep, wondrous deep, below appears the ground. 

"Struck with despair, with trembling hearts we view'd 
The yawning dungeon, and the tumbling flood ; 
When lo ! fierce Scylla stoop'd to seize her prey, 
Stretch'd her dire jaws, and swept six men away, 
Chiefs of renown ! loud-echoing shrieks arise : 
I turn, and view them quivering in the skies ; 
They call, and aid with outstretch'd arms implore : 



BOOK XII. | THE ODYSSEY. 179 

In vain they call ! those arms are stretch'd no more. 

As from some rock that overhangs the flood 

The silent fisher casts the insidious food. 

With fraudful care he waits the finny prize, 

And sudden lifts it quivering to the skies : 

So the foul monster lifts her prey on high, 

So pant the wretches struggling in the sky : 

In the wild dungeon she devours her food, 

And the flesh trembles while she churns the blood. 

Worn as I am with griefs, with care decay'd, 

Never, I never scene so dire survey'd ! 

My shivering blood, congeal'd, forgot to flow: 

Aghast I stood, a monument of woe! 

" Now from the rocks the rapid vessel flies, 
And the hoarse din like distant thunder dies ; 
To Sol's bright isle our voyage we pursue, 
And now the glittering mountains rise to view. 
There, sacred to the radiant god of day, 
Graze the fair herds, the flocks promiscuous stray : 
Then suddenly was heard along the main 
To low the ox, to bleat the woolly train. 
Straight to my anxious thoughts the sound convey'd 
The words of Circe and the Theban shade ; 
Warn'd by their awful voice these shores to shun, 
With cautious fears oppress'd I thus begun : 

" ' O friends ! O ever exercis'ed in care ! 
Hear Heaven's commands, and reverence what ye hear ! 
To fly these shores the prescient Theban shade 
And Circe warn ! O be their voice obey'd : 
So me mighty woe relentless Heaven forebodes : 
Fly these dire regions and revere the gods ! ' 

" While yet I spoke, a sudden sorrow ran 
Through every breast, and spread from man to man, 
Till wrathful thus Eurylochus began : 

" ' O cruel thou ! some Fury sure has steel'd 
That stubborn soul, by toil untaught to yield ! 
From sleep debarr'd, we sink from woes to woes 
And cruel, enviest thou a short repose ? 
Still must we restless rove, new seas explore, 
The sun descending, and so near the shore ? 
And lo ! the night begins her gloomy reign, 
And doubles all the terrors of the main : 
Oft in the dead of night loud winds arise, 
Lash the wild surge, and bluster in the skies. 
Oh, should the fierce south-west his rage display, 
And toss with rising storms the watery way, 
Though gods descend from heaven's aerial plain 



l8 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XII. 

To lend us aid, the gods descend in vain ; 
Then while the night displays her awful shade, 
Sweet time of slumber! be the night obey'd ! 
Haste ye to land ! and when the morning ray 
Sheds her bright beam, pursue the destined way.' 
A sudden joy in every bosom rose : 
So will'd some demon, minister of woes! 

"To whom with grief : 'O swift to be undone ! 
Constraint I act what wisdom bids me shun. 
, But yonder herds and yonder flocks forbear ; 
Attest the. heavens, and call the gods to hear : 
Content, an innocent repast display, 
By Circe given and fly the dangerous prey.' 

" Thus i : and while to shore the vessel flies, 
With hands uplifted they attest the skies : 
Then, where a fountain's gurgling waters play, 
They rush to land, and end in feasts the day : 
They feed ; they quaff: and now (their hun'ger fled) 
Sigh for their friends devour'd, and mourn the dead ; 
Nor cease the tears till each in slumber shares 
A sweet forgetfulness of human cares. 
Now far the night advanced her gloomy reign, 
And setting stars roll'd down the azure plain : 
When at the voice of Jove wild whirlwinds rise, 
And clouds and double darkness veil the skies ; 
The moon, the stars, the bright ethereal host 
Seem as extinct, and all their splendors lost : 
The furious tempest roars with dreadful sound : 
Air thunders, rolls the ocean, groans the ground. 
All night it raged : when morning rose to land 
We haul'd our bark, and moor'd it on the strand, 
Where in a beauteous grotto's cool recess 
Dance the green Nereids of the neighboring seas. 

" There while the wild winds whistled o'er the main, 
Thus careful I addr*ess'd the listening train : 

" ' O friends, be wise ! nor dare the flocks destroy 
Of these fair pastures : if ye touch, ye die. 
Warn'd by the high command of Heaven, be awed : 
Holy the flocks, and dreadful is the god ! 
That god who spreads the radiant 'beams of light, 
And views wide earth and heaven's unmeasured height. 

" And now the moon had run her monthly round, 
The south-east blustering with a dreadful sound : 
Unhurt the beeves, untouch'd the woolly train, 
Low through the grove, or touch the flowery plain : 
Then fail'd our food: then fish we make our prey, 
Or fowl that screaming haunt the watery way. 



BOOK XII. THE ODYSSEY. 181 

Till now from sea or flood no succor found, 
Famine and meagre want besieged us round. 
Pensive and pale from grove to grove I stray'd, 
From the loud storms to find a sylvan shade; 
There o'er my hands the living wave I pour ; 
And Heaven and Heaven's immortal thrones implore, 
To calm the roarings of the stormy main, 
And guide me peaceful to my realms again. 
Then o'er my eyes the gods soft slumbers shed, 
While thus Eurylochus arising said : 

"' O friends, a thousand ways frail mortals lead 
To the cold tomb, and dreadful all to tread ; 
But dreadful most, when by a slow decay 
Pale hunger wastes the manly strength away. 
Why cease ye then to implore the powers above, 
And offer hecatombs to thundering Jove ? 
Why seize ye not yon beeves, and fleecy prey? 
Arise unanimous ; arise and slay ! 
And if the gods ordain a safe return, 
To Phosbus shrines shall rise, and altars burn. 
But should the powers that o'er mankind preside 
Decree to plunge us in the whelming tide, 
Better to rush at once to shades below 
Than linger life away, and nourish woe.' 

" ' Thus he : the beeves around securely stray, 
When swift to ruin they invade the prey; 
They seize, they kill ! but for the rites divine 
The barley fail'd, and for libations wine. 
Swift from the oak they strip the shady pride; 
And verdant leaves the flowery cake supplied. 

"' With prayer they now address the ethereal train, 
Slay the selected beeves, and flay the slain : 
The thighs, with fat involved, divide with art, 
Strew'd o'er with morsels cut from every part. 
Water, instead of wine, is brought in urns, 
And poured profanely as the victim burns. 
The thighs thus offer'd, and the entails dress'd, 
They roast the fragments, and prepare the feast. 

" 'Twas then soft slumber fled my troubled brain : 
Back to the bark I speed along the main. 
When lo ! an odor from the feast exhales. 
Spreads o'er the coast, and scents the tainted gales ; 
A chilly fear congeal'd my vital blood, 
And thus, obtesting Heaven, I mourn'd aloud : 

" ' O sire of men and gods, immortal Jove ! 
O all ye blissful powers that reign above ! 
Why were my cares beguiled in short repose ? 



182 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XII- 

O fatal slumber, paid with lasting woes ! 
A deed so dreadful all the gods alarms, 
Vengeance is on the wing, and Heaven in arms ! ' 

" Meantime Lampetie mounts the aerial way * 
And kindles into rage the god of clay : 

"Vengeance, ye powers (he cries), and thou whose hand 
Aims the red bolt, and hurls the writhen brand ! 
Slain are those herds which I with pride survey, 
When through the ports of heaven I pour the day, 
Or deep in ocean plunge the burning ray. 
Vengeance, ye gods ! or I the skies forego, 
And bear the lamp of heaven to shades below.' 

" To whom the thundering Power : ' O source of day ! 
Whose radiant lamp adorns the azure way, 
Still may thy beams through heaven's bright portal rise, 
The joy of earth, the glory of the skies : 
Lo ! my red arm I bare, my thunders guide, 
To dash the offenders in the whelming tide.' 

" To fair Calypso, from the bright abodes, 
Hermes convey'd these counsels of the gods. 

" Meantime from man to man my tongue exclaims, 
My wrath is kindled, and my soul in flames. 
In vain ! I view perform'd the direful deed, 
Beeves, slain by heaps, along the ocean bleed. 

" Now heaven gave signs of wrath : along the ground 
Crept the raw hides, and with a bellowing sound 
Roar'd the dead limbs ; the burning etnrails groan'd. 
Six guilty days my wretched mates employ 
In impious feasting, and unhallowed joy ; 
The seventh arose, and now the sire of gods 
Rein'd the rough storms, and calm'd the tossing floods : 
With speed the bark we climb ; the spacious sails 
Loosed from the yards invite the impelling gales. 
Past sight of shore, along the surge we bound, 
And all above is sky, and ocean all around ; 
When lo ! a murky cloud the Thunderer forms 
Full o'er our heads, and blackens heaven with storms. 
Night dwells o'er all the deep : and now outflies 
The gloomy west, and whistles in the skies. 
The mountain-billows roar ! the furious blast 
Howls o'er the shroud, and rends it from the mast : 
The mast gives way, and, crackling as it bends, 
Tears up the deck; then all at once descends: 
The pilot by the tumbling ruin slam, 
Dash'd from the helm, falls headlong in the main. 

* Lampctie was the daughter of Apollo and Neaera, the guardian of the sacred 
>cks. 



BOOK XII. 1 THE ODYSSEY. 183 

Then Jove in anger bids his thunders roll, 

And forky lightnings flash from pole to pole : 

Fierce at our heads his deadly bolt he aims, 

Red with uncommon wrath, and wrapp'd in flames : 

Full on the bark it fell ; now^high, now low, 

Toss'd and retoss'd, it reel'd beneath the blow; 

At once into the main the crew it shook : 

Sulphurous odors rose, and smouldering smoke. 

Like fowl that haunt the floods, they sink, they rise, 

Now lost, now seen, with shrieks and dreadful cries; 

And strive to gain the bark ; but Jove denies. 

Firm at the helm I stand, when fierce the main 

Rush'd with dire noise, and dash'd the sides in twain ; 

Again impetuous drove the furious blast, 

Snapp'd the strong helm, and bore to sea the mast. 

Firm to the mast with cords the helm I bind, 

And ride aloft, to Providence resign'd, 

Through tumbling billows and a war of wind. 

" Now sunk the west, and now a southern breeze, 
More dreadful than the tempest, lash'd the seas ; 
For on the rocks it bore where Scylla raves, 
And dire Charybdis rolls her thundering waves. 
All night I drove ; and at the dawn of day, 
Fast by the rocks beheld the desperate way : 
Just when the sea within her gulf subsides, 
And in the roaring whirlpools rush the tides, 
Swift from the float I vaulted with a bound, 
The lofty fig-tree seized, and clung around : 
So to the beam the bat tenacious clings, 
And pendent round it clasps his leather wings. 
High in the air the tree its boughs display'd, 
And o'er the dungeon cast a dreadful shade ; 
All uhsustain'd between the wave and sky, 
Beneath my feet the whirling billows fly. 
What time the judge' forsakes the noisy bar 
To take repast, and stills the wordy war, 
Charybdis, rumbling from her inmost caves, 
The mast refunded on her refluent waves. 
Swift from the tree, the floating mass to gain, 
Sudden I dropp'd amidst the flashing main ; ' 
Once more undaunted on the ruin rode, 
And oar'd with laboring arms along the flood. 
Unseen I pass'd by Scylla's dire abodes : 
So Jove decreed (dread sire of men and gods). 
Then nine long days I ploughed the calmer seas, 
Heaved by the surge, and wafted by the breeze. 
Weary and wet the Ogygian shores I gain, 



184 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XII. 

When the tenth sun descended to the main. 
There, in Calypso's ever-fragrant bowers, 
Refresh'd I lay, and joy beguiled the hours. 

" My following fates to thee, O king, are known, 
And the bright partner of thy royal throne. 
Enough : in misery can words avail ? 
And what so tedious as a twice-told tale ? " 



BOOK Xlll.] THE ODYSSEY. 185 



BOOK XIII. 

ARGUMENT. 



\cx. 



Ulysses takes his leave of Alcinoiis and Arete, and embarks in the evening. Next 
morning the ship arrives at Ithaca ; where the sailors, as Uiysbes is yet sleeping, 
lay him on the bhore with all his treasures. On their return, Neptune changes 
their ship into a rock. In the mean time Ulysses, awaking, knows not his native 
Ithaca, by reason of a mist which Jr'dilas had cast round him. He breaks into loud 

' lamentations ; till the gbddes.^, appearing to him in the form of a shepherd, dis- 
covers the country to him, and points out the particular places. He then tells a 
feigned story of his adventures, upon wlucli she manifests herself, and they con- 
return, and disguise Ins person the more effectuauy, she changes him into the 
figure of an old beggar. 

HE ceased ; but left so pleasing on their ear 
His voice, that listening still they seenvd to hear. 
A pause of silence huslrd the shady rooms : 
The grateful conference then the king resumes : 

" Whatever toils the great Ulysses pass'd, 
Beneath this happy roof they end at last ; 
No longer now from shore to shore to roam, 
Smooth seas and gentle winds invite him home. 
But hear me. princes ! whom these walls inclose, 
For whom my chanter sings, and goblet flows 
With wine unmix'd (an honor due to age, 
To cheer the grave, and warm the poet's rage) ; 
Though labor'd gold and manv a dazzling vest 
Lie heap'd already for our godlike guest': 
Without new treasures let 'him not remove, 
Large, and expressive of the public love : 
Each peer a tripod, each a vase bestow. 
A general tribute, which the state shall owe." 

This sentence pleased : then all their steps address'd 
To separate mansions, and retired to rest. 

Now did the rosy-fin srer'd morn arise, 
And shed her sacred li:ht along the skies. 
Down to the haven and the ships in haste 
They bore the treasures, and in safety placed. 
The. king himself the vases raneed with care; 
Then bade his followers to the feast repair. 



186 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIIL 

A victim ox beneath the sacred hand 

Of great Alcinoiis falls, and stains the sand. 

To Jove the Eternal (power above all powers'. 

Who wings the winds, and darkens heaven with showers) 

The flames ascend : till evening they prolong 

The rites, more sacred made by heavenly song : 

For in the midst with public honors graced, 

Thy lyre divine, Demodocus ! was placed. 

All, but Ulysses, heard with fix'd delight: 

He sate, and eyed the sun, and wish'd the night : 

Slow seem'd the sun to move, the hours to roll, 

His native home deep-imaged in his soul. 

As the tired ploughman, spent with stubborn toil, 

Whose oxen long have torn the furrow'd soil, 

Sees with delight the sun's declining ray, 

When home with feeble knees he bends, his way 

To late repast (the day's hard labor done): 

So to Ulysses welcome set the sun : 

Then instant to Alcinoiis and the rest 

(The Scherian states) he turn'd, and thus address'd: 

" O thou, the first in merit and command ! 
And you the peers and princes of the land ! 
May every joy be yours ! nor this the least, 
When due libation shall have crown'd the feast, 
Safe to my home to send your happy guest. 
Complete are now the bounties you have given, 
Be all those bounties but confirm'd by Heaven ! 
So may I find, when all my wanderings cease, 
My consort blameless, and my friends in peace. 
On you be every bliss ; and every day, 
In liome-felt joys, delighted roll away : 
Yourselves, your wives, your long-descending race, 
May every god enrich with every grace ! 
Sure fix'd on virtue may your nation stand. 
And public evil never touch the land ! " 

His words well wei^h'cl, the general voice approved 
Benign, and instant his dismission moved. 
The monarch to Pontomis gave the sign, 
To fill the goblet Vii<rh with rosv wine : 
" Great Jove the Father first (he cried"! implore ; 
Then send the stranger to his native shore." 

The luscious wine the obedient herald brought; 
Around the mansion flow'd the purple draught: 
F.ach from his seat to each immortal pours. 
Whom glorv circles in the Olympian bowers. 
Ulysses sole with air majestic stands. 
The bowl presenting to Arete's hands : 



BOOK XIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 187 

Then thus : " O queen, farewell ! be still possess'd 
Of dear remembrance, blessing still and bless'd ! 
Till age and death shall gently call thee hence, 
(Sure fate of every mortal excellence ! ) 
Farewell ! and joys successive ever spring 
To thee, to thine, the people, and the king ! " 

Thus he : then parting prints the sandy shore 
To the fair port : a herald march'd before, 
Sent by Alcinoiis ; of Arete's train 
Three chosen maids attend him to the main : 
This does a tunic and white vest convey, 
A various casket that, of rich inlay, 
And bread and wine the third. The cheerful mates 
Safe in the hollow poop dispose the cates : 
Upon the deck soft painted robes they spread, 
With linen cover'd, for the hero's bed. 
He climbed the lofty stern ; then gently press'd 
The swelling couch, and lay composed to rest. 

Now placed in "order, the Phaeacian train 
Their cables loose, and launch into the main : 
At once they bend, and strike their equal oars, 
And leave the sinking hills and lessening shores. 
While on the deck the chief in silence lies, 
And pleasing slumbers steal upon his eyes. 
As fiery coursers in the rapid race 
Urged by fierce drivers through the dusty space, 
Toss their high heads and scour along the plain, 
So mounts the bounding vessel o'er the main. 
Back to the stern the parted billows flow, 
And the black ocean foams and roars below. 

Thus with spread sails the winged galley flies; 
Less swift an eagle cuts the liquid skies ; 
Divine Ulysses was her sacred load, 
A man, in wisdom equal to a god ! 
Much danger, long and mighty toils he bore, 
In storms by sea, and combats on the shore : 
All which soft sleep now banish'd from his breast, 
Wrapp'd in a pleasing, deep, and death-like rest. 

But when the morning-star with early, ray 
Flamed in the front of heaven, and promised day ; 
Like distant clouds the mariner descries 
Fair Ithaca's emerging hills arise. 
Far from the town a spacious port appears, 
Sacred to Phorcys' * power, whose name it bears : 

* Phorcys, the son of Pontus and Terra (Sea snd Earth). He married his sister 
Ceto, who gave birth to the dragon which guarded the apples of the Hesperides. 



188 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIII. 

Two craggy rocks projecting to the main, 
The roaring wind's tempestuous rage restrain , 
Within the waves in sotter rhurmurs glide, 
And ships secure without their haisers ride. 
High at the head a branching olive grows, 
And crowns the pointed cliffs with shady boughs. 
Beneath, a gloomy grotto's cool recess 
Delights the A'ereids of the neighboring seas. 
Where bowls and urns were iorm'd of living stone, 
And massy beams in native marble shone, 
On which the labors of the nymphs were roli'd, 
Their webs divine of purple mix'd with gold. 
Within the cave' the clustering bees attend 
Their waxen works, or from the roof depend. 
Perpetual waters o'er the pavement glide ; 
Two marble doors unfold on either side ; 
Sacred the south, by which the gods descend ; 
But mortals enter at the northern end. 

Thither they bent, and haul'd their ship to land 
(The crooked keel divides the yellow sand): 
Ulysses sleeping on his couch they bore, 
And gently placed him on the rocky shore, 
His treasures next, Alcinoiis' gifts, they laid 
In the wild olive's unfrequented shade, 
Secure from theft ; then launch 'd the bark again, 
Resumed their oars, and measured back the main, 
Nor yet forgot old Ocean's dread supreme, 
The vengeance vow'd for eyeless Polypheme. 
Before the throne of mighty Jove he stood, 
And sought the secret counsels of the god. 

" Shall then no more, O sire of gods ! be mine 
The rights and honors of a power divine ? 
Scorn'd e'en by man, and (oh severe disgrace !) 
By soft Phaeacians, my degenerate race ! 
Against yon destined head in vain I swore, 
And menaced vengeance, ere he reach'd his shore ; 
To reach his natal shore was thy decree; 
Mild I obey'd, for who shall war with thee ? 
Behold him landed, careless and asleep, 
From all the eluded dangers of the deep; 
Lo where he lies, amidst a shining store 
Of brass, rich garments, and refulgent ore; 
And bears triumphant to his native isle 
A prize more worth than Ilion's noble spoil." 

To whom the Father of the immortal powers. 
Who swells the clouds, and gladdens earth with showers ; 
"Can mighty Neptune thus of man complain ? 



BOOK XIII. j THE ODYSSEY. 189 

Neptune, tremendous o'er the boundless main ! 

Revered and awful e'en in heaven's abodes, 

Ancient and great ! a god above the gods 1 

If that low race offend thy power divine 

(Weak, daring creatures ! ) is not vengeance thine ? 

Go, then, the guilty at thy will chastise." 

He said. The shaker of the earth replies ! 

" This then I doom : to fix the gallant ship 
A mark of vengeance on the sable deep ; 
To warn the thoughtless, self-confiding train, 
No more unlicensed thus to brave the main. 
Full in their port a shady hill shall rise, 
If such thy will." " We will it (Jove replies). 
E'en when with transport blackening all the strand, 
The swarming people hail their ship to land, 
Fix her forever a memorial stone : 
Still let her seem to sail, and seem alone. 
The trembling crowds shall see the sudden shade 
Of whelming mountains overhang their head ! " 

With that the god whose earthquakes rock the ground 
Fierce to Phaeacia cross'd the vast profound. 
Swift as a swallow sweeps the liquid way, 
The winged pinnace shot along the sea. 
The god arrests her with a sudden stroke, 
And roots her down an everlasting rock. 
Aghast the Scherians stand in deep surprise ; 
All press to speak, all question with their eyes. 
What hands unseen the rapid bark restrain ! 
And yet it swims, or seems to swim, the main : 
Thus they, unconscious of the deed divine : 
Till great Alcinous, rising, own'd the sign. 

" Behold the long-predestined day ! (he cries ;) 
O certain faith of ancient prophecies ! 
These ears have heard my royal sire disclose 
A dreadful story, big with future woes ; 
How, moved with wrath, that careless we convey 
Promiscuous every guest to every bay, 
Stern Neptune raged ; and how by his command 
Firm rooted in the surge a ship should stand 
(A monument of wrath) ; and mound on mound 
Should hide our walls, or whelm beneath the ground. 

" The Fates have follow'd as declared the seer. 
Be humbled, nations ! and your monarch hear. 
No more unlicensed brave the deeps, no more 
With every stranger pass from shore to shore : 
On angry Neptune now for mercy call: 
To his high name let twelve black oxen fall. 



190 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIII. 

So may the god reverse his purposed will, 
Nor o'er our city hang the dreadful hill." 

The monarch spoke : they trembled and obey'd, 
Forth on the sands the victim oxen led : 
The gathered tribes before tlte altars stand, 
And chiefs and rulers, a majestic band. 
The king of ocean all the tribes implore ; 
The blazing altars redden all the shore. 

Meanwhile Ulysses in his country lay, 
Released from sleep, and round him might survey 
The solitary shore and rolling sea. 
Yet had his' mind through tedious absence lost 
The dear resemblance of his native coast ; 
Besides, Minerva, to secure her care, 
Diffused around a veil of thickened air; 
For so the gods ordain'd, to keep unseen 
His royal person from his friends and queen ; 
Till the proud suitors for their crimes afford 
An ample vengeance to their injured lord. 

Now all the land another prospect bore, 
Another port appear'd, another shore. 
And long-continued ways, and winding floods, 
And unknown mountains, crown 'd with unknown woods. 
Pensive and slow, with sudden grief oppress'd, 
The king arose, and beat his careful breast, 
Cast a long look o'er all the coast and main, 
And sought, around, his native realm in vain : 
Then with erected eyes stood fix'd in woe, 
And as he spoke, the tears began to flow. 

"Ye gods (he cried), upon what barren coast, 
In what new region, is Ulysses toss'd ? 
Possess'd by wild barbarians, fierce in arms ? 
Or men whose bosom tender pity warms ? 
Where shall this treasure now in safety lie ? 
And whither, whither its sad owner fly ? 
Ah, why did I Alcinoiis grace implore ? 
Ah, why forsake Phasacia's happy shore ? 
Some juster prince perhaps had entertain'd, 
And safe restored me to my native land. 
Is this the promised, long-expected coast, 
And this the faith Phaeacia's rulers boast ? 
O righteous gods ! of all the great, how few 
Are just to Heaven, and to their promise true ! 
But he, the power to whose all-seeing eyes 
The deeds of men appear without disguise, 
'Tis his alone to avenge the wrongs I bear : 
For still the oppress'd are his peculiar care. 



BOOK XIII.] THE ODYSSEY, 191 

To count these presents, and from thence to prove 
Their faith is mine : the rest belongs to Jove." 

Then on the sands he ranged his wealthy store, 
The gold, the vests, the tripods number'd o'er: 
All these he found, but still in error lost, 
Disconsolate he wanders on the coast, 
Sighs for his country, and laments again 
To the deaf rocks, and hoarse-resounding main. 
When lo ! the guardian goddess of the wise, 
Celestial Pallas, stood before his eyes ; 
In show a youthful swain, of form divine, 
Who seem'd descended from some princely line. 
A graceful robe her slender body dress'd ; 
Around her shoulders flew the waving vest ; 
Her decent hand a shining javelin bore, 
And painted sandals on her feet she wore. 
To whom the king : " Whoe'er of human race 
Thou art, that wanderest in this desert place, 
With joy to thee, as to some god I bend, 
To thee my treasures and myself commend. 
O tell a wretch in exile doom'd to stray, 
What air I breathe, what country I survey? 
The fruitful continent's extremest bound, 
Or some fair isle which Neptune's arms surround ? 

" From what far clime (said she) remote from fame 
Arrivest thou here, a stranger to our name ? 
Thou seest an island, not to those unknown 
Whose hills are brighten'd by the rising sun, 
Nor those that placed beneath his utmost reign 
Behold him sinking in the western main. 
The rugged soil allows no level space 
For flying chariots, or the rapid race; ' 
Yet. not ungrateful to the peasant's pain, 
Suffices fulness to the swelling grain : 
The loaded trees their various fruits produce, 
And clustering grapes afford a generous juice ; 
Woods crown our mountains, and in every grove 
The bounding goats and frisking heifers rove : 
Soft rains and kindly dews refresh the field, 
And rising springs eternal verdure yield. 
E'en to those shores is Ithaca renown'd, 
Where Troy's majestic ruins strew the ground." 

At this, the chief with transport was possess'd ; 
His panting heart exulted in his breast : 
Yet, well dissembling his untimely joys, 
And veiling truth in plausible disguise, 
Thus, with an air sincere, in fiction bold, 



19 2 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIII. 

His ready tale the inventive hero told : 

' Oft have I heard in Crete this island's name ; 
For 'twas from Crete, my native soil, I came, 
Self-banish'd thence. 1 sail'd before the wind, 
And left my children and my frie'nds behind. 
From fierce Idomeneus' revenge I flow, 
Whose son, the swift Orsilochus, I slew 
(With brutal force he seized my Trojan prey, 
Due to the toils of many a bloody day). 
Unseen I 'scaped, and, favor'd by the night, 
In a Phoenician vessel took my flight, 
For Pyle or Elis bound : but tempests toss'd 
And raging billows drove us on your coast. 
In dead of night an unknown port we gain'd, 
Spent with fatigue, and slept secure on land. 
But ere the rosy morn renew'd the day, 
While in the embrace of pleasing sleep I lay, 
Sudden, invited by suspicious gales, 
They land my goods, and hoist their flying sails. 
Abandon'd here, my fortune I deplore, 
A hapless exile on a foreign shore." 

Thus while he spoke, the blue-eyed maid began 
With pleasing smiles to view the godlike man : 
Then changed her form ; and now, divinely bright, 
Jove's heavenly daughter stood confess'd to sight : 
Like a fair virgin in her beauty's bloom, 
Skill'd in the illustrious labors of the loom. 

"O still the same Ulysses! (she rejoin'd,) 

In useful craft successfully refined ! 
Artful in speech, in action, and in mind ! 
Sufficed it not, that, thy long labors pass'd, 
Secure thou seest thy native shore at last ? 
But this to me ? who, like thyself excel 
In arts of counsel, and dissembling well ; 
To me ? whose wit exceeds the powers divine, 
No less than mortals are surpass'd by thine. 
Know'st thou not rne ; who made thy life my care. 
Through ten years' wandering, and through ten years' war; 
Who taught thee arts, Alcinoiis to persuade, 
To raise his wonder, and engage his aid : 
And now appear, thy treasures to protect, 
Conceal thy person, thy designs direct, 
And tell what more thou must from Fate expect; 
Domestic woes far heavier to be borne ! 
The pride of fools, and slaves' insulting scorn ? 
But thou be silent, nor reveal thy state; 
Yield to the force of unresisted Fate, 



BOOK XIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 193 

And bear unmoved the wrongs of base mankind, 
The last, and hardest, conquest of the mind." 

" Goddess of wisdom ! (Ithacus replies), 
He who discerns thee must be truly wise, 
So seldom view'd, and ever in disguise ! 
When the bold Argives led their warring powers, 
Against proud llion's well defended towers, 
Ulvsses was thy care, celestial maid ! 
Graced with thy sight, and favor'd \\ith thy aid. 
But when the Trojan piles in ashes lay, 
And bound for Greece we plough 'd the watery way; 
Our fleet dispersed, and driven from coast to coast, 
Thy sacred presence from that hour I lost ; 
Till I beheld thy radiant form once more, 
And heard thy counsels on Phaeacia's shore. 
But, by the almighty author of thy race, 
Tell me, oh tell, is this my native place ? 
For much I fear, long tracts of land and sea 
Divide this coast from distant Ithaca; 
The sweet delusion kindly you impose, 
To sooth my hopes, and mitigate my woes. 

Thus he. The blue-eyed goddess thus replies : 
"How prone to doubt, how cautious are the wise ! 
Who, versed in fortune, fear the flattering show, 
And taste not half the bliss the gods bestow. 
The more shall Pallas aid thy just desires, 
And guard the wisdom which herself inspires. 
Others, long absent from their native place, 
Straight seek their home, and fly with eager pace 
To their wives' arms, and children's dear embrace. 
Not thus Ulysses: he decrees to prove 
His subjects' faith, and queen's suspected love; 
Who mourn'd her lord twice ten revolving years, 
And waste the days in grief, the nights \\\ tears. 
But Pallas knew (thv friends and navy lost) 
Once more 'twas given thee to behold thy coast: 
Yet how could I with adverse Fate engage, 
And mighty Neptune's unrelenting rage ? 
Now lift thy longing eyes, while I restore 
The pleasing prospect of thy native shore. 
Behold the port of Phorcys ! fenced around 
With rocky mountains, and with olives crown'd. 
Behold the gloomy grot ! whose cool recess 
Delights the Nereids of the neighboring seas : 
Whose now-neglected altars in thy reign 
Blush'd with the blood of sheep and oxen slain. 
Behold ! where Neritus the clouds divides, 
13 



194 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIII. 

And shakes the waving forests on his sides." 
So spake the goddess ; and the prospect clear'd, 

The mists dispersed, and all the coast appeared. 

The king with joy confess'd his place of birth, 

And on his knees salutes his mother earth : 

Then, with his suppliant hands upheld in air, 

Thus to the sea-green sisters sends his prayer: 
" All hail ! ye virgin daughters of the main ! 

Ye streams, beyond my hopes, beheld again ! 

To you once more your own Ulysses bows ; 

Attend his transports, and receive his vows ! 

If Jove prolong my days, and Pallas crown 

The growing virtues of my youthful son, 

To you shall rites divine be ever paid, 

And grateful offerings on your altars laid." 

Thus then Minerva : " From that anxious breast 

Dismiss those cares, and leave to heaven the rest. 

Our task be now thy treasured stores to save, 

Deep in the close recesses of the cave : 

Then future means consult." She spoke, and trod 
The shady grot, that brighten'd with the god. 
The closest caverns of the grot she sought ; 
The gold, the brass, the robes, Ulysses brought ; 
These in the secret gloom the chief disposed ; 
The entrance with a rock the goddess closed. 

Now, seated in the olive's sacred shade, 
Confer the hero and the martial maid. 
The goddess of the azure eyes began : 
" Son of Laertes ! much-experienced man ! 
The suitor-train thy earliest care demand, 
Of that luxurious race to rid the land : 
Three years thy house their lawless rule has seen, 
And proud addresses to the matchless queen. 
But she thy absence mourns from day to day, 
And inly bleeds, and silent wastes away : 
Elusive of the bridal hour, she gives 
Fond hopes to all, and all with hopes deceives." 

To this Ulysses : " O celestial maid ! 
Praised be thy counsel, and thy timely aid: 
Else had I seen my native walls in vain, 
Like great Atridesj just restored and slain. 
Vouchsafe the means of vengeance to debate, 
And plan with all thy arts the scene of fate. 
Then, then be present, and my soul inspire, 
As when we wrapp'd Troy's heaven-built walls in fire. 
Though leagued against me hundred heroes stand, 
Hundreds shall fall, if Pallas aid my hand." 



BOOK XIII.] THE OD \SSEY. 195 

" She answer d : " In the dreadful day of fight 
Know, I am with thee, strong in all my might. 
If thou but equal to t ivself be found, 
What gasping numbers then shall press the ground ! 
What human victims stain the feastful floor ! 
How wide the pavements float with guilty gore 1 
It fits thee now to wear a dark disguise, 
And secret walk unknown to mortal eyes. 
For this, my hand shall wither every grace, 
And every elegance of form and face ; 
O'er thy smooth skin a bark of wrinkles spread, 
Turn hoar the auburn honors of thy head : 
Disfigure every limb with coarse attire, 
And in thy eyes extinguish all the fire ; 
Add all the wants and the decays of life ; 
Estrange thee from thy own ; thy son, thy wife : 
From the loathed object every sight shall turn, 
And the blind suitors their destruction scorn. 

"Go first the master of thy herds to find, 
True to his charge, a loyal swain and kind : 
For thee he sighs ; and to the loyal heir 
And chaste Penelope extends his care. 
At the Coracian rock he now resides, 
Where Arethusa's sable water glides; 
The sable water and the copious mast 
Swell the fat herd ; luxuriant, large repast! 
With him rest peaceful in the rural cell, 
And all you ask his faithful tongue shall tell. 
Me into other realms my cares convey, 
To Sparta, still with female beauty gay : 
For know, to Sparta thy loved offspring came, 
To learn thy fortunes from the voice of Fame." 

At this the father, with a father's care : 
" Must he too suffer ? he, O goddess ! bear 
Of wanderings and of woes a wretched share ? 
Through the wild ocean plough the dangerous way, 
And leave his fortunes and his house a prey ? 
Why would'st not thou, O all-enlighten'd mind ! 
Inform him certain, and protect him, kind ? " 
To whom Minerva : " Be thy soul at rest ; 
And know, whatever heaven ordains is best. 
To fame I sent him, to acquire renown ; 
To other regions is his virtue known ; 
Secure he sits, near great Atrides placed; 
With friendship strengthen'd, and with honors graced 
But lo ! an ambush waits his passage o'er 
Fierce foes insidious intercept the shore : 



196 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIII. 

In vain ; far sooner all the murderous brood 
This injured land shall fatten with their blood." 

She spake, then touch'd him with her powerful wand : 
The skin shrunk up, and wither'd at her hand : 
A swift old age o'er all his members spread ; 
A sudden frost was sprinkled on his head ; 
Nor longer in the heavy eye-ball shined 
The glance divine, forth-beaming from the mind. 
His robe, which spots indelible besmear, 
In rags dishonest flutters with the air : 
A stag's torn hide is lapp'd around his reins ; 
A rugged staff his trembling hand sustains ; 
And at his side a wretched scrip was hung, 
Wide-patch 'd, and knotted to a twisted thong. 
So look'd the chief, so moved : to mortal eyes 
Object uncouth ! a man of miseries ! 
While Pallas, cleaving the wild fields of air 
To Sparta flies, Telemachus her care. 



BOOK XIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 197 



BOOK XIV. 

ARGUMENT. 

THE CONVERSATION WITH BUM 



Ulysses arrives in disguise at the house of Euniseus, where he is received, entertained, 
and lodged with the utmost hospitality. The several discourses of that faithful 
old servant, with the feigned story told by Uiysses to conceal himseif, and other 
conversations on various subjects, take up this entire book. 

BUT he, deep-musing, o'er the mountains stray'd 
Through mazy thickets of the woodland shade. 
And cavern'd ways, the shaggy coast along, 
With cliffs and nodding forests overhung. 
Eumasus at his silvan lodge he sought,* 
A faithful servant, and without a fault. 
Ulysses found him busied, as he sate 
Before the threshold of his rustic gate ; 
Around, the mansion in a circle shone ; 
A rural portico of rugged stone 
(In absence of his lord, with honest toil 
His own industrious hands had raised the pile). 
The wall was stone from neighboring quarries borne, 
Encircled with a fence of native thorn, 



* Eumaus. The following observations are at once just, pertinent, and inter- 
esting : 

" Eumaeus is a character less within the reach of modern imitation than any other 
in the Odyssey. He is a genuine country gentleman of the age of Homer, living at a 
distance from the town, having servants or laborers under him, but being at the same 
time the principal herdsman and superintendent of the swine belonging to Ulysses, 
which of course constituted an important article of the hero's property. He had 
come a stranger to Ithaca, and Ulysses had been his patron and friend ; these circum- 
stances are evidently ingredients in the jealous dislike with which Melanthius and suit- 
orsregard him. He is professedly of the old party, and is independent enough to ac-t 
boldly upon his own principles. I think professor /Eoliades has great reason to be 
proud of his descent from this most respectable imn. The scenes in his house are 
unequalled in their way, and are as remarkably different from the poetical rusticities 
of Theocritus and Virgil as they are from the coarseness of real life passed in low 
country occupations. There is a dignity and a philosophical elevation given to 
Eumzus, which, without injuring the natural coloring of his manner*, throw's the 
light of poetry around them : and. after a very slight acquaintance with him, we re- 
peat the 6105 v'4>opj3<K (divine or noble swineherd), and the op^a/uo? ai-5pou> (leader 
of men), not only without any sense of ridiculous incongruity, but with- a hearty feeling 
of their moral propriety. The character of Euma^us is a very complete conception, 
and a remarkably interesting specimen of rural life and its habits in the very remote 
age in which it was produced." Coleridge, p. 269. 



198 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIV. 

And strong with pales, by many a weary stroke 

Of stubborn labor hewn from heart of oak ; 

Frequent and thick. Within the space were rear'd 

Twelve ample cells, the lodgments of his herd. 

Full fifty pregnant females each contain'd ; 

The males without (a smaller race) remain'd ; 

Doom'd to supply the suitors' wasteful feast, 

A stock by daily luxury decreased ; 

Now scarce four hundred left. These to defend, 

Four savage dogs, a watchful guard, attend. 

Here sat Eumasus, and his cares applied 

To form strong buskins of well-season'd hide. 

Of four assistants who his labor share, 

Three now were absent on the rural care 

The fourth drove victims to a suitor-train : 

But he, of ancient faith, a simple swain, 

Sigh'd, while he furnish'd the luxurious board, 

And wearied Heaven with wishes for his lord. 

Soon as Ulysses near the inclosure drew, 
With open mouths the furious mastiffs flew : 
Down sat the sage, and cautious to withstand, 
Let fall the offensive truncheon from his hand. 

Sudden, the master runs ; aloud he calls ; 
And from his hasty hand the leather falls ; 

With showers of stones he drives them far away: 
The scattering dogs around at distance bay. 
" Unhappy stranger ! (thus the faithful swain 

Began with accent gracious and humane,) 

What sorrow had been mine, if at my gate 

Thy reverend age had met a shameful fate ! 

Enough of woes already have I known ; 

Enough my master's sorrows and my own. 

While here (ungrateful task!) his herds I feed, 

Ordain'd for lawless rioters to bleed ! 

Perhaps, supported at another's board ! 

Far from his country roams my hapless lord ! 

Or sigh'd in exile forth his latest breath, 

Now cover'd with the eternal shad-e of death ! 
" But enter this my homely roof, and see 

Our woods not void of hospitality. 
' Then tell me whence thou art, and what the share 

Of woes and wanderings thou wert born to bear." 
He said, and, seconding the kind request, 

With friendly step precedes his unknown guest, 

A shagery Boat's soft hide beneath him spread, 

And with fresh rushes heap'd an ample bed : 

Jove touch'd the hero's tender soul, to find 



BOOK XIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 199 



So just reception from a heart so kind ; 

And "Oh, ye gods ! with all your blessings grace 

(He thus broke forth) this friend of human race ! " 

The swain replied : " It never was our guise 
To slight the poor, or aught humane despise : 
For Jove unfolds our hospitable door, 
'Tis Jove that sends the stranger and the poor 
Little, alas ! is all the good I can ; 
A man oppress'd, dependent, yet a man : 
Accept such treatment as a swain affords, 
Slave to the insolence of youthful lords ! 
Far hence is by unequal gods removed 
That man of bounties, loving and beloved ! 
To whom whate'er his slave enjoys is owed, 
And more, had Fate allow'd, had been bestow'd: 
But Fate condemn'd him to a foreign shore ; 
Much have I sorrow'd, but my master more. 
Now cold he lies, to death's embrace resign'd : 
Ah, perish Helen ! perish all her kind ! 
For whose cursed cause, in Agamemnon's name, 
He trod so fatally the paths of fame." 

His vest succinct then girding round his waist, 
Forth rush'd the swain with hospitable haste. 
Straight to the lodgments of his herd he run, 
Where the fat porkers slept beneath the sun ; 
Of two, his cutlass launch'd the spouting blood ; 
These quarter'd, singed, and fix'd on forks of wood, 
All hasty on the hissing coals he threw; 
And, smoking, back the tasteful viands drew 
Broachers and all ; then on the board display'd 
The ready meal, before Ulysses laid 
With flour irribrown'd ; next mingled wine yet new, 
And luscious as the bees' nectareous dew : 
Then sate, companion of the friendly feast, 
With open look ; and thus bespoke his guest : 

" Take with free welcome what our hands prepare, 
Such food as falls to simple servants' share; 
The best our lords consume ; those thoughtless peers, 
Rich without bounty, guilty without fears. 
Yet sure the gods their impious acts detest, 
And honor justice and the right&ous breast. 
Pirates and conquerors of harden'd mind, 
The foes of peace, and scourges of mankind, 
To whom offending men are made a prey 
When Jove in vengeance gives a land away ; 
E'en these, when of their ill-got spoils possess'd, 
Find sure tormentors in the guilty breast : 



> THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIV. 

Some voice of God close whispering from within, 

' Wretch ! this is villany, and this is sin.' 

But these, no doubt, some oracle explore, 

That tells, the great Ulysses is no more. 

Hence springs their confidence, and from our sighs 

Their rapine strengthens, and their riots rise : 

Constant as Jove the night and day bestows, 

Bleeds a whole hecatomb, a vintage flows. 

None match'd this hero's wealth, of all who reign 

O'er the fair islands of the neighboring main. 

Nor all the monarchs whose far-dreaded sway 

The wide-extended continents obey : 

First, on the main-land, of Ulysses' breed 

Twelve herds, twelve flocks, on ocean's margin feed ; 

As many stalls for shaggy goats are rear'd ; 

As many lodgments for the tusky herd ; 

Two foreign keepers guard : and here are seen 

Twelve herds of goats that graze our utmost green ; 

To native pastors is their charge assign'd, 

And mine the care to feed the bristly kind : 

Each day the fattest bleeds of either herd, 

All to the suitors' wasteful board preferr'd." 

Thus he, benevolent : his unknown guest 
With hunger keen devours the savory feast ; 
While schemes of vengeance ripen in his breast. 
Silent and thoughtful while the board he eyed. 
Eumasus pours on high the purple tide ; 
The king with smiling looks his joy express'd. 
And thus the kind inviting host address'd : 

" Say now, what man is he, the man deplored, 
So rich, so potent, whom you style your lord ? 
Late with such affluence a'nd possessions bless'd, 
And now in honor's glorious bed at rest. 
Whoever was the warrior, he must be 
To fame no stranger, nor perhaps to me : 
Who (so the gods and so the Fates ordain'd) 
Have wander'd many a sea, and many a land." 

" Small is the faith the prince and queen ascribe 
(Replied Eumaeus) to the wandering tribe. 
For needy strangers still to flattery fly, 
And want too oft betrays the tongue to lie. 
Each vagrant traveller, that touches here. 
Deludes with fallacies the royal ear, 
To dear remembrance makes his image rise, 
And calls the springing sorrows from her eyes. 
Such thou mayst be. But he whose name you crave 
Moulders in earth, or welters on the wave. 



BOOK XIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 



Or food for fish or dogs his relics lie, 

Or torn by birds are scatter'd through the sky. 

So perish'd he : and left (forever lost) 

Much woe to all, but sure to me the most. 

So mild a master never shall I find ; 

Less dear the parents whom I left behind, 

Less soft my mother, less my father kind. 

Not with such transport would my eyes run o'er, 

Again to hail them in their native shore, 

As lved Ulysses once more to embrace, 

Restored and breathing in his natal place. 

That name forever dread, yet ever dear, 

E'en in his absence I pronounce with fear : 

In my respect, he bears a prince's part ; 

But lives a very brother in my heart." 

Thus spoke the faithful swain, and thus rejoin'd 
The master of his grief, the man of patient mind ; 
" Ulysses, friend ! shall view his old abodes 
(Distrustful as thou art), nor doubt the gods. 
Nor speak I rashly, but with faith averr'd, 
And what I speak attesting Heaven has heard. 
If so, a cloak and vesture be my meed : 
Till his return no title shall I plead, 
Though certain be my news, and great my need. 
Whom want itself can force untruths to tell, 
My soul detests him as the gates of hell. 

" Thou first be witness, hospitable Jove ! 
And every god inspiring social love ! 
And witness every household power that waits, 
Guard of these fires, and angel of these gates ! 
Ere the next moon increase, or this decay, 
His ancient realms Ulysses shall survey, 
In blood and dust each proud oppressor mourn, 
And the lost glories of his house return." 

" Nor shall that meed be thine, nor ever more 
Shall loved Ulysses hail this happy shore 
(Replied Eumaeus) : to the present hour 
Now turn thy thought, and joys within our power. 
From sad reflection let my soul repose ; 
The name of him awakes a thousand woes. 
But guard him, gods ! and to these 1 arms restore ! 
Not his true consort can desire him more ; 
Not old Laertes, broken with despair : 
Not young Telemachus, his blooming heir. 
Alas, Telemachus ! my sorrows flow 
Afresh for thee, my second cause of woe ! 
Like some fair plant set by a heavenly hand, 



202 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIV. 

He grew, he flourish'd, and he bless'd the land ; 

In all the youth his father's image shined, 

Bright in his person, brighter in his mind. 

What man, or god, deceived his better sense, 

Far on the swelling seas to wander hence ? 

To distant Pylos hapless is he gone, 

To seek his father's fate and find his own ! 

For traitors wait his way, with dire design 

To end at once the great Arcesian line. 

But let us leave him to their wills above ; . 

The fates of men are in the hand of Jove. 

And now, my venerable guest ! declare 

Your name, your parents, and your native air : 

Sincere from whence begun, your course relate, 

And to what ship I owe the friendly freight ? " 

Thus he : and thus (with prompt invention bold) 
The cautious chief his ready story told. 

" On dark reserve what better can prevail, 
Or from the fluent tongue produce the tale, 
Than when two friends, alone, in peaceful place 
Confer, and wines and cates the table grace ; 
But most, the kind inviter's cheerful face ? 
Thus might we sit, with social goblets crown'd, 
Till the whole circle of the year goes round : 
Not the whole circle of the year would close 
My long narration of a life of woes. 
But such was Heaven's high will ! Know then, I came 
From sacred Crete, and from a sire of fame : 
Castor Hylacides (that name he bore), 
Beloved and honor'd in his native shore; 
Bless'd in his riches, in his children more. 
Sprung of a handmaid, from a bought embrace, 
I shared his kindness with his lawful race : 
But when that fate, which all must undergo, 
From earth removed him to the shades below, 
The large domain his greedy sons divide, 
And each was portion'd as the lots decide. 
Little, alas ! was left my wretched share, 
Except a house, a covert from the air: 
But what by niggard fortune was denied, 
A willing widow's copious wealth supplied. 
My valor was my plea, a gallant mind, 
That, true to honor, never lagg'd behind 
(The sex is ever to a soldier kind). 
Now wasting years my former strength confound, 
And added woes have bow'd me to the ground ; 
Yet by the stubble you may guess the grain, 



BOOK XI V.I THE ODYSSEY. 203 

And mark the ruins of no vulgar man. 

Me, Pallas gave to lead the martial storm, 

And the fair ranks of battle to deform ; 

Me, Mars inspired to turn the foe to flight, 

And tempt the secret ambush of the night. 

Let ghastly Death in all his forms appear, 

I saw him not, it was not mine to fear. 

Before the. rest I raised my ready steel ; 

The first I met, he yielded, or he fell. 

But works of peace my soul disdain'd to bear, 

The rural labor, or domestic care. 

To raise the mast, the missile dart to wing, 

And send swift arrows from the bounding string, 

Were arts the gods made grateful to my mind ; 

Those gods, who turn (to various ends design'd) 

The various thoughts and talents of mankind. 

Before the Grecians touch'd the Trojan plain, 

Nine times commander or by land or main, 

In foreign fields I spread my glory far, 

Great in the praise, rich in the spoils of war ; 

Thence charged with riches, as increased in fame, 

To Crete return'd. an honorable name. 

But when great Jove that direful war decreed, 

Which roused all Greece, and made the mighty bleed ; 

Our states myself and Idomen employ 

To lead their fleets, and carry death to Troy. 

Nine years we warr'd; the tenth saw Ilion fall; 

Homeward we sail'd, but heaven dispersed us all. 

One only month my wife enjoy'd my stay ; 

So will'd the god who gives and takes away. 

Nine ships I mann'd equipp'd with ready stores, 

Intent to voyage to the /Egyptian shores ; 

In feast and sacrifice my chosen train 

Six days consumed ; the seventh we plough'd the main. 

Crete's ample fields diminish to our eye ; 

Before the Boreal blast the vessels fly; 

Safe through the level seas we sweep our way ; 

The steersman governs, and the ships obey. 

The fifth fair morn we stem the /Egyptian tide, 

And tilting o'er the bay the vessels ride : 

To anchor there my fellows I command, 

And spies commission to explore the land. 

But, sway'd by lust of gain, and headlong will, 

The coas'ts they ravage, and the natives kill. 

The spreading clamor to their city flies, 

And horse and foot in mingled tumult rise. 

The reddening dawn reveals the circling fields, 



204 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIV. 

Horrid with bristly spears, and glancing shields. 

Jove thunder'd on their side. Our guilty head 

We turn'd to flight; the gathering venge'ance spread 

On all parts round, and heaps on heaps lie dead. 

I then explored my thought, what course to prove 

(And sure the thought was dictated by Jove) : 

Oh, had he left me to that happier doom, 

And saved a life of miseries to come ! 

The radiant helmet from my brows unlaced, 

And low on earth my shield and javelin cast, 

I meet the monarch with a suppliant's face, 

Approach his chariot, and his knees embrace. 

He heard, he saved, he placed me at his side : 

My state he pitied, and my tears he dried, 

Restrain'd the rage the vengeful foe express 'd, 

And turned the deadly weapons from my breast. 

Pious ! to guard the hospitable rite, 

And fearing Jove, whom mercy's works delight. 

" In vEgypt thus with peace and plenty bless'd, 
I lived (and happy still have lived) a guest. 
On seven bright years successive blessings wait 
The next changed all the color of my fate. 
A false Phoenician, of insidious mind, 
Versed in vile arts, and foe to humankind, 
With semblance fair invites me to his home 
I seized the proffer (ever fond to roam) : 
Domestic in his faithless roof I stay'd, 
Till the swift sun his annual circle made. 
To Libya then he meditates the way; 
With guileful art a stranger to betray, 
And sell to bondage in a foreign land : 
Much doubting, yet compell'd I quit the strand. 
Through the mid seas the nimble pinnace sails, 
Aloof from Crete, before the northern gales : 
But when remote her chalky cliffs we lost, 
And far from ken of any other coast, 
When all was wild expanse of sea and air, 
Then doom'd high Jove due vengeance to preparg 
He hung a night of horrors o'er their head 
(The shaded ocean blacken'd as it spread) : 
He launch'd the fiery bolt ; from pole to pole 
Broad burst the lightnings, deep the thunders roll 
In giddy rounds the whirling ship is toss'd. 
And all in clouds of smothering sulphur lost. 
As from a hanging rock's tremendous height, 
The sable crows with intercepted flight 
Drop endlong ; scarr'd, and black with sulphurous hue, 



BOOK XIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 205 

So from the deck are hurled the ghastly crew. 

Such end the wicked found ! but Jove's intent 

Was yet to save the oppress'd and innocent. 

Placed on the mast (the last resource of life) 

With winds and waves I held unequal strife : 

For nine long days the billows tilting o'er, 

The tenth soft wafts me to Thesprotia's shore. 

The monarch's son a shipwreck'd wretch relieved, 

The sire with hospitable rites received, 

And in his palace like a brother placed, 

With gi*fts of price and gorgeous garments graced. 

While here I sojourn'd, oft I heard the fame 

How late Ulysses to the country came, 

How loved, how honor'd, in this court he stay'd, 

And here his whole collected treasure laid ; 

I saw myself the vast unnumber'd store 

Of steel elaborate, and refulgent ore, 

And brass high heaped amidst the regal dome ; 

Immense supplies for ages yet to come ! 

Meantime he voyaged to explore the will 

Of Jove, on high Dodona's holy hill, 

What means might best his safe return avail, 

To come in pomp, or bear a secret sail ? 

Full oft has Phidon, whilst he pour'd the wine, 

Attesting solemn all the powers divine, 

That soon Ulysses would return, declared 

The sailors waiting, and the ships prepared. 

But first the king dismiss'd me from his shores, 

For fair Dulichium crown'd with fruitful stores ; 

To good Acastus' friendly care consign'd . 

But other counsels pleased the sailors' mind : 

New frauds were plotted by the faithless train, 

And misery demands me once again. 

Soon as remote from shore they plough the wave, 

With ready hands they rush to seize their slave ; 

Then with these tatter'd rags they wrapp'd me round 

(Stripp'cl of my own), and to the vessel bound. 

At eve, at Ithaca's delightful land 

The ship arriv'd : forth issuing on the sand, 

They sought repast; while to the unhappv kind, 

The pitying gods themselves my chains unbind. 

Soft I descended, to the sea applied 

My naked breast, and shot along the tide. 

Soon pass'd beyond their sight, I left the flood, 

And took the spreading shelter of the wood. 

Their prize escaped the faithless pirates mourn'd; 

But deem'd inquiry vain, and to their ships return'd. 



206 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIV. 

Screen'd by protecting gods from hostile eyes, 

They led me to a good man and a wise, 

To live beneath thy hospitable care, 

And wait the woes Heaven dooms me yet to bear." 

" Unhappy guest ! whose sorrows touch my mind ! 
(Thus good Eumaeus with a sigh rejoin'd), 
For real sufferings since I grieve sincere, 
Check not with falacies the springing tear: 
Nor turn the passion into groundless joy 
For him whom Heaven has destined to destroy. 
Oh ! had he perish'd on some well-fought day, 
i Or in his friend's embraces died away ! 
That grateful Greece with streaming eyes might raise 
Historic marbles to record his praise ; 
His praise, eternal on the faithful stone. 
Had with transmissive honors graced his son. 
Now, snatch'd by harpies to the dreary coast, 
Sunk is the hero, and his glory lost! 
While pensive in this solitary den, 
Far from gay cities and the ways of men, 
I linger life ; nor to the court repair, 
But when my constant queen commands my care 
Or when, to taste her hospitable board, 
Some guest arrives, with rumors of her lord ; 
And these indulge their want, and those their woe, 
And here the tears and there the goblets flow. 
By many such have I been warn'd ; but chief 
By one /Etolian robb'd of all belief, 
Whose hap it was to this our roof to roam, 
For murder banish'd from his native home. 
He swore, Ulysses on the coast of Crete 
Stay'd but a season to refit his fleet; 
A few revolving months should waft him o'er, 
Fraught with bold warriors, and a boundless store. 
O thou ! whom age has taught to understand, 
And Heaven has guided with a favoring hand ! 
On god or mortal to obtrude a lie 
Forbear, and dread to flatter as to die. 
Nor for such ends my house and heart are free, 
But dear respect to Jove, and charity." 

"And why, O swain of unbelieving mind ! 
(Thus quick replied the wisest of mankind) 
Doubt you my oath ? yet more my faith to try, 
A solemn compact let us ratify, 
And witness every power that rules the sky ! 
If here Ulysses from his labors rest, 
Be then my prize a tunic and a vest; 



BOOK XIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 207 

And where my hopes invite me, straight transport 
In safety to Dulichium's friendly court, 
But if he greets not thy desiring eye, 
Hurl me from yon dread precipice on high ; 
The due reward of fraud and perjury." 

" Doubtless, O guest ! great laud and praise were mine 
(Replied the swain, for spotless faith divine), 
If, after social rites and gifts bestow'd, 
I stain'd my hospitable hearth with blood. 
How would the gods my righteous toils succeed ; 
And bless the hand that made a stranger bleed. 
No more the approaching hours of silent night 
First claim reflection, then to rest invite ; 
Beneath our humble cottage let u$ haste, 
And here, unenvied, rural dainties taste." 

Thus communed these : while to their lowly dome 
The full-fed swine return'd with evening home ; 
Compell'd, reluctant, to their several sties, 
With din obstreperous, and ungrateful cries. 
Then to the slaves : " Now from the herd the best 
Select in honor of our foreign guest : 
With him let us the genial banquet share, 
For great and many are the griefs we bear ; 
While those who from our labors heap their board 
Blaspheme their feeder, and forget their lord." 

Thus speaking, with despatchful hand he took 
A weighty axe, and cleft the solid oak ; 
This on the earth he piled ; a boar full fed, 
Of five years' age, before the pile was led : 
The swain, whom acts of piety delight, 
Observant of the gods, begins the rite; 
First shears the forehead of the bristly boar, 
And suppliant stands, invoking every power 
To speed Ulysses to his native shore. 
A knotty stake then aiming at his head. 
Down dropp'd he groaning, and the spirit fled. 
The scorching flames climb round on every side ; 
Then the singed members they with skill divide : 
On these, in rolls of fat involved with art, 
The choicest morsels lay from every part. 
Some in the flames bestrew'd with flour they threw; 
Some cut in fragments from the forks they drew; 
These whi.le on several tables they dispose, 
A priest himself the blameless rustic rose ; 
Expert the destined victim to dispart 
In seven just portions, pure of hand and heart. 
One sacred to the nymphs apart they lay ; 



208 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIV. 

Another to the winged sons of May : 

The rural tribe in common share the rest, 

The king the chine, the honor of the feast, 

Who sat delighted at his servant's board ; 

The faithful servant joy'd his unknown lord. 

" Oh be thou dear (Ulysses cried) to Jove, 

As well thou claim'st a grateful stranger's love ! " 

" Be then thy thanks (the bounteous swain replied) 
Enjoyment of the good the gods provide. 
From God's own hand descend our joys and woes ; 
These he decrees, and he but suffers those : 
All power is his, and whatsoe'er he wills, 
The will itself, omnipotent, fulfils; 
This said, the first-fruits to the gods he gave; 
Then pour'd of offer'd wine the sable wave : 
In great Ulysses' hand he placed the bowl, 
He sate, and sweet reflection cheer'd his soul. 
The bread from canisters Mesaulius gave 
(Eumaeus' proper treasure bought this slave, 
And led from Taphos, to attend his board, 
A servant added to his absent lord) ; 
His task it was the wheaten loaves to lay, 
And from the banquet take the bowls away. 
And now the rage of hunger was repress'd, 
And each betakes him to his couch to rest. 

Now came the night, and darkness cover'd o'er 
The face of things; the winds began to roar; 
The driving storm the watery west wind pours, 
And Jove descends in deluges of showers. 
Studious of rest and warmth, Ulysses lies, 
Forseeing from the first the storm would rise ; 
In mere necessity of coat and cloak 
With artful preface to his host he spoke : 
" Hear me, my friends ! who this good banquet grace ; 
Tis sweet to play the fool in time and place, 
And wine can of their wits the wise beguile, 
< Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile, 
The grave in merry measures frisk about} 
And many a long repented word bring out. 
Since to be talkative I now commence, 
Let wit cast off the sullen yoke of sense. 
Once I was strong (would Heaven restore those days !) 
And with my betters claim'd a share of praise. 
Ulysses, Menelaiis, led forth a band, 
And join'd me with them ('twas their own command); 
A deathful ambush for the foe to lay, 
Beneath Troy walls by night we took our way : 



BOOK XIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 209 

There, clad in arms, along the marshes spread, 

We made the osier-fringed bank our bed. 

Full soon the inclemency of heaven I feel 

Nor had these shoulders covering, but of steel. 

Sharp blew the north ; snow whitening all the fields 

Froze with the blast, and gathering glazed our shields. 

There all but I , well fenced with cloak and vest, 

Lay cover'd by their ample shields at. rest. 

Fool that 1 was ! 1 left behind my own, 

The skill of weather and of winds unknown, 

And trusted to my coat and shield alone ! 

When now was wasted more than half the night, 

And the stars faded at approaching light, 

Sudden I jogg'd Ulysses, who was laid 

Fast by my side, and shivering thus I said : 

" ' Here longer in this field I cannot lie ; 
The winter pinches, and with cold I die, 
And die ashamed (O wisest of mankind), 
The only fool who left his cloak behind.' 

" He thought and answer'd ; hardly waking yet, 
Sprung in his mind a momentary wit 
(That wit, which or in council or in fight, 
Still met the emergence, and determined right). 
'Hush thee (he cried, soft whispering in my ear), 
Speak not a word, lest any Greek may hear' 
And then (supporting on his arm his head), 
' Hear me, companions ! (thus aloud he said) : 
Methinks too distant from the fleet we lie : 
E'en now a vision stood before my eye. 
And sure the warning vision was from high : 
Let from among us some swift courier rise, 
Haste to the general, and demand supplies.' 

" Up started Thoas straight Andraemon's son, 
Nimbly he rose, and cast his garment down ! 
Instant, the racer vanished off the ground ; 
That instant in his cloak I wrapp'd me round : 
And safe I slept, till brightly-dawning shone 
The morn conspicuous on her golden throne. 

"Oh were my strength as then, as then my age ! 
Some friend would fence me from the winter's rage. 
Yet. tatter'd as I. look. I challenged then 

he honors and the offices of men : 
Some master, or some servant would allow 
A cloak and vest but 1 am nothing now ! " 

" Well hast thou spoke (rejoin'd the attentive swain) : 
Thy lips let fall no idle word or vain ! 
Nor garment shalt thou want, nor aught beside, 

14 



210 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIV. 

Meet for the wandering suppliant to provide, 

But in the morning take thy clothes again, 

For here one vest suffices every swain, 

No change of garments to our hinds is known ; 

But when retunrd, the good Ulysses' son 

With better hand shall grace with fit attires 

His guest, and send thee where thy soul desires." 

The honest herdsman rose, as this he said, 
And drew before the hearth the stranger's bed ; 
The fleecy spoils of sheep, a goat's rough hide 
He spreads ; and adds a mantle thick and wide ; 
With store to heap above him, and below, 
And guard eacli quarter as the tempests blow. 
There lay the king, and all the rest supine ; 
All, but the careful master of the swine : 
Forth hasted he to tend his bristly care ; 
Well arm'd, and fenced against nocturnal air: 
His weighty falchion o'er his shoulder tied : 
His shaggy cloak a mountain goat supplied : 
With his broad spear, the dread of dogs and men, 
He seeks his lodging in the rocky den. 
There to the tusky herd he bends his way, 
Where, screen'd from Boreas, high o'era'rch'd they lay. 



BOOK XV.] THE ODYSSEY. 



BOOK XV. 

ARGUMENT. 

THE RETURN OF TELKMACHUS- 

The goddess Minerva commands Telemachus in a vision to return to Ithaca. Pisis- 
tratus and he take leave of Menelaiis, and arrive at Pylos, where they part ; and 
Telemachus sets sail, after having received on board Theoclymenus the soothsayer. 
The scene then changes to the cottage of Eunraeus, who entertains Ulysses with a 
recital of his adventures. In the meantime Telemachus arrives on the coast, and 
sending the vessel to the town, proceeds by himself to the lodge of Kumasus. 

Now had Minerva reach'd those ample plains, 
Famed for the dance, where Menelaiis reigns : 
Anxious she flies to great Ulysses' heir, 
His instant voyage challenged all her care. 
Beneath the royal portico display'd, 
With Nestor's son Telemachus was laid : 
In sleep profound the son of Nestor lies; 
Not thine, Ulysses ! Care unseal'd his eyes : 
Restless he grieved, with various fears oppress'd, 
And all thy fortunes roll'd within his breast. 
When, " O Telemachus ! (the goddess said) 
Too long in vain, too widely hast thou stray'd, 
Thus leaving careless thy paternal right 
The robbers' prize, the prey to lawless might. 
On fond pursuits neglectful while you roam, 
E'en now the hand of rapine sacks the dome. 
Hence to Atrides ; and his leave implore 
To launch thy vessel for thy natal shore ; 
Fly, whilst thy mother virtuous yet withstands 
Her kindred's wishes, and her sire's commands; 
Through both, Eurymachus pursues the dame, 
And with the noblest gifts asserts his claim. 
Hence, therefore, while thy stores thy own remain 
Thou know'st the practice of the female train, 
Lost in the children of the present spouse, 
They slight the pledges of their former vows ; 
Their love us always with the lover past ; 
Still the succeeding flame expels the last. 
Let o'er thy house some chosen maid preside, 
Till Heaven decrees to bless thee in a bride. 



212 . THE ODYSSEY. [ BOOK XV- 

But now thy more attentive ears incline, 

Observe the warnings of a power divine ; 

For thee their snares the suitor lords shall lay 

In Samos' sands, or straits of Ithaca ; 

To seize thy life shall lurk the murderous band, 

Ere yet thy footsteps press thy native land. 

No ! sooner far their riot and their lust 

All-covering earth shall bury deep in dust ! 

Then distant from the scatter'd islands steer, 

Nor let the night retard thy full career ; 

Thy heavenly guardian shall instruct the gales 

To smooth thy passage and supply thy sails : 

And when at Ithaca thy labor ends, 

Send to the town the vessel with thy friends ; 

But seek thou first the master of the swine 

(For still to thee his loyal thoughts incline) ; 

There pass the night : while he his course pursues 

To bring Penelope the wish'd-for news, 

That thou, safe sailing from the Pylian strand, 

Art come to bless her in thy native land." 

Thus spoke the goddess, and resumed her flight 
To the pure regions of eternal light. 
Meanwhile Pisistratus he gently shakes, 
And with these words the slumbering youth awakes : 

" Rise, son of Nestor; for the road prepare, 
And join the harness'd coursers to the car." 

" What cause (he cried) can justify our flight 
To tempt the dangers of forbidding night ? 
Here wait we rather, till approaching day 
Shall prompt our speed, and point the ready way. 
Nor think of flight before the Spartan king 
Shall bid farewell, and bounteous presents bring; 
Gifts, which to distant ages safely stored, 
The sacred act of friendship shall record." 

Thus he. But when the dawn bestreak'd the east, 
The king from Helen rose, and sought his guest. 
As soon as his approach the hero knew, 
The splendid mantle round him first he threw, 
Then o'er his ample shoulders whirl'd the cloak, 
Respectful met the monarch, and bespoke : 

" Hail, great Atrides, favor'd of high Jove ! 
Let not thy friends in vain for licence move. 
Swift let us measure back the watery way, 
Nor check our speed, impatient of delay." 

" If with desire so strong thy bosom glows, 
III (said the king) should I thy wish oppose; 
For oft in others freely I reprove 



BOOK XV.] THE ODYSSEY. 213 

The ill-timed efforts of officious love ; 
Who love too much, hate in the like extreme, 
And both the golden mean alike condemn. 
Alike he thwarts the hospitable end, 
Who drives the free, or stays the hasty friend : 
True friendship's laws are by this rule'express'd, 
Welcome the coming, speed the parting guest. 
Yet stay, my friends, and in your chariot take 
The noblest presents that our love can make ; 
Meantime commit we to our women's care 
Some choice domestic viands to prepare ; 
The traveller, rising from the banquet gay, 
Eludes the labors of the tedious way, 
Then if a wider course shall rather please, 
Through spacious Argos and the realms of Greece, 
Atrides in his chariot shall attend ; 
Himself thy convoy to each royal friend. 
No prince will let Ulysses' heir remove 
Without some pledge, some monument of love : 
These will the caldron, these the tripod give ; 
From those the well-pair'd mules we shall receive, 
Or bowl emboss'd whose golden figures live." 

To whom the youth, for prudence famed, replied : 
" O monarch, care of heaven ! thy people's pride ! 
No friend in Ithaca my place supplies, 
No powerful hands are there, no watchful eyes : 
My stores exposed and fenceless house demand 
The speediest succor from my guardian hand ; 
Lest, in a search too anxious and too vain 
Of one lost joy, I lose what yet remain." 

His purpose when the generous warrior heard, 
He charged the household cates to be prepared. 
Now with the dawn, from his adjoining home, 
Was Boethcedes Eteoneus come ; 
Swift at the word he forms the rising blaze, 
And o'er the coals the smoking fragments lays. 
Meantime the king, his son, and Helen went 
Where the rich wardrobe breathed a costly scent. 
The king selected from the glittering rows 
A bowl ; the prince a silver beaker chose. 
The beauteous queen revolved with careful eyes 
Her various textures of unnumber'd dyes, 
And chose the largest ; with no vulgar art 
Her own fair hands embroider'd every part ; 
Beneath the rest it lay divinely bright, 
Like radiant Hesper o'er the gems of night. 
Then with each gift they hasten'd to their guest, 



214 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XV. 

And thus the king Ulysses' heir address'd: 
"Since fix'd are thy resolves, may thundering Jove 
With happiest omens thy desires approve ! 
This silver bowl, whose costly margins shine 
Enchased with gold, this valued gift be thine : 
To me this present, of Vulcanian frame, 
From Sidon's hospitable monarch came ; 
To thee we now consign the precious load, 
The pride of kings, and labor of a god." 

Then gave the cup, while Megapenthe brought 
The silver vase with living sculpture wrought. 
The beauteous queen, advancing next, display'd 
The shining veil, and thus endearing said : 

" Accept, dear youth, this monument of love, 
Long since, in better days, by Helen wove : 
Safe in thy mother's care the vesture lay. 
To deck thy bride and grace thy nuptial day. 
Meantime may'st thou with happiest speed regain 
Thy stately palace, and thy wide domain." 

She said, and gave the veil ; with grateful look 
The prince the variegated present took. 
And now, when through the royal dome they pass'd, 
High on a throne the king each stranger placed. 
A golden ewer the attendant damsel brings, 
Replete with water from the crystal springs ; 
With copious streams the shining vase supplies 
A silver laver of capacious size. 
They wash. The tables in fair order spread, 
The glittering canisters are crown'd with bread ; 
Viands of various kinds allure the taste, 
Of choicest sort and savor ; rich repast ! 
Whilst Eteoneus portions out the shares, 
Atrides' son the purple draught prepares. 
And now (each sated with the genial feast, 
And the short rage of thirst and hunger ceased) 
Ulysses' son, with his illustrious friend, 
The horses join, the polish'd car ascend. 
Along the court the fiery steeds rebound, 
And the wide portal echoes to the sound. 
The king precedes ; a bowl with fragrant wine 
(Libation destined to the powers divine) 
His right hand held : before the steeds he stands, 
Then, mix'd with prayers, he utters these commands : 

" Farewell, and prosper, youths ! let Nestor know 
What grateful thoughts still in this bosom glow 
For all the proofs of his paternal care, 
Through the long dangers of the ten years' war." 



BOOK XV.] THE ODYSSEY. 215 

"Ah ! doubt not our report (the prince rejoin'd) 

Of all the virtues of thy generous mind. 

And oh ! return'd might we Ulysses meet ! 

To him thy presents show, thy words repeat : 

How will each speech his grateful wonder raise ! 

How will each gift indulge us in thy praise ! " 
Scarce ended thus the prince, when on the right 

Advanced the bird of Jove : auspicious sight ! 

A milk-white fowl his clinching talons bore, 

With care domestic pampered at the floor. 

Peasants in vain with threatening cries pursue, 

In solemn speed the bird majestic flew 

Full dexter to the car : the prosperous sight 

Fill'd every breast with wonder and delight. 
But Nestor's son the cheerful silence broke, 

And in these words the Spartan chief bespoke : 

" Say if to us the gods these omens send, 

Or fates peculiar to thyself portend ? " 

Whilst yet the monarch Caused, with doubts oppress'd, 
The beauteous queen relieved his laboring breast : 
" Hear me (she cried), to whom the gods have given 
To read this sign, and mystic sense of heaven. 
As thus the plumy sovereign of the air 
Left on the mountain's brow his callow care, 
And wandered through the wide ethereal way 
To pour his wrath on yon luxurious prey; 
So shall thy godlike father, toss'd in vain 
Through all the dangers of the boundless main, 
Arrive (or is perchance already come) 
From slaughter'd gluttons to release the dome. ' 

" Oh ! if this promised bliss by thundering Jove 
(The prince replied) stand fix'd in fate above; 
To thee, as to some god, I'll temples raise, 
And crown thy altars with the costly blaze." 

He said ; and bending o'er his chariot, flung 
Athwart the fiery steeds the smarting thong; 
The bounding shafts upon the harness play, 
Till night descending intercepts the way. 
To Diocles at Pherae they repair. 
Whose boasted sire was sacred Alpheus' heir; 
With him all night the youthful strangers stay'd, 
Nor found the hospitable rights unpaid. 
But soon as morning from her orient bed 
Had tinged the mountains with her earliest red, 
They join'd the steeds, and on the chariot sprung, 
The brazen portals in their passage rung. 
To Pylos soon they came ; when thus begun 



216 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XV. 

To Nestor's heir Ulysses' godlike son : 

" Let not Pisistratus in vain be press'd, 
Nor unconsenting hear his friend's request; 
His friend by long hereditary claim, 
In toils his equal, and in years the same. 
No farther from our vessel, I implore, 
The coursers drive ; but lash them to the shore. 
Too long thy father would his friend detain ; 
I dread his proffer'd kindness urged in vain." 

The hero paused, and ponder'd this request, 
While love and duty warr'd within his breast. 
At length resolved, he turn'd his ready hand, 
And lash'd his panting coursers to the strand. 
There, while within the poop with care he stored 
The regal presents of the Spartan lord, 
"With speed begone (said he) : call every mate, 
Ere yet to Nestor 1 the tale relate : 
'Tis true, the fervor of his generous heart 
Brooks no repulse, nor couldst thou soon depart: 
Himself will seek thee here, nor wilt thou find, 
In words alone, the Pylian monarch kind. 
But when, arrived, he thy return shall know, 
How will his breast with honest fury glow ! " 
This said, the sounding strokes his horses fire, 
And soon he reached the palace of his sire. 

"Now (cried Telemachus) with speedy care 
Hoist every sai 1 , and every oar prepare." 
Swift as the word his willing mates obey, 
And seize their seats, impatient for the sea. 

Meantime the prince with sacrifice adores 
Minerva, and her guardian aid implores ; 
When lo ! a wretch ran breathless to the shore, 
New from his crime ; and reeking yet with gore. 
A seer he was, from great Melampus sprung, 
Melampus, who in Pylos flourish'd long, 
Till, urged by wrongs, a foreign realm he chose, 
Far from the hateful cause of all his woes. 
Neleus his treasures one long year detains ;. 
As long he groan'd in Philacus's chains : 
Meantime, what anguish and what rage combined, 
For lovely Pero rack'd his laboring mind ! 
Yet 'scaped he death ; and vengeful of his wrong 
To Pvlos drove the lowing herds along : 
Then' (Neleus vanquish'd, and consign'd the fair 
To Bias' arms) he sought a foreign air; 



Argos the rich for his retreat he choose, 
There form'd his empire ; there his paU 



empire ; there his palace rose. 



BOOK XV.] THE ODYSSEY. 217 

From him Antiphates and Mantius came: 
The first begot Oicleus great in fame, 
And he Amphiaraus, immortal name ! 
The people's saviour, and divinely wise, 
Beloved by Jove, and him who gilds the skies; 
Yet short his date of life ! by female pride he dies. 
From Mantius Clitus, whom Aurora's love 
Snatch'd for his beauty to the thrones above; 
And Polyphides, on whom Phoebus shone 
With fullest rays, Amphiaraus now gone ; 
In Hyperesia's groves he made abode, 
And taught mankind the counsels of the god. 
From him sprung Theoclymenus, who found 
(The sacred wine yet foaming on the ground) 
Telemachus : whom, as to Heavan he press'd 
His ardent vows, the stranger thus address'd : 

" O thou ! that dost thy happy course prepare 
With pure libations and with solemn prayer : 
By that dread power to whom thy vows are paid ; 
By all the lives of these ; thy own dear head, 
Declare sincerely to no foe's demand 
Thy name, thy lineage, and paternal land." 

" Prepare, then (said Telemachus) to kno'w 
A tale from falsehood free, not free from woe. 
From Ithaca, of royal birth I came, 
And great Ulysses (ever honor'd name !) 
Once was my sire, though now, forever lost, 
In Stygian gloom he glides a pensive ghost! 
Whose fate inquiring through the world we rove; 
The last, the wretched proof of filial love." 

The stranger then : " Nor shall I aught conceal, 
But the dire secret of my fate reveal. 
Of my own tribe an Argive wretch I slew ; 
Whose powerful friends the luckless deed pursue 
With unrelenting rage, and force from home 
The blood-stain'd exile, ever doom'd to roam. 
But bear, oh bear me o'er yon azure flood ; 
Receive the suppliant ! spare my destined blood ! " 

" Stranger (replied the prince) securely rest 
Affianced in our faith ; henceforth our guest." 
Thus affable, Ulysses' godlike heir 
Takes from the stranger's hand the glittering spear : 
He climbs the ship, ascends the stern with haste, 
And by his side the guest accepted placed. 
The chief his order gives : the obedient band 
With due observance wait the chief's command ; 
With speed the mast they rear, with speed unbind 



2l8 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XV. 

The spacious sheet, and stretch it to the wind. 
Minerva calls ; the ready gales obey 
With rapid speed to whirl them o'er the sea. 
Crunus they pass'd. next Chalcis roll'd away, 
With thickening darkness closed the doubtful-day ; 
The silver Phaea's glittering rills they lost, 
And skimm'd along by Elis' sacred coast. 
Then cautious through the rocky reaches wind, 
And turning sudden, shun the death design'd. 

Meantime, the king, Eumasus, and the rest, 
Sate in the cottage, at their rural feast : 
The banquet pass'd, and satiate every man, 
To try his host, Ulysses thus began ; 

" Yet one night more, my friends, indulge your guest; 
The last I purpose in your walls to rest : 
To-morrow for myself I must provide, 
And only ask your counsel, and a guide ; 
Patient to roam the street, by hunger led, 
And bless the friendly hand that gives me bread. 
There in Ulysses' roof I may relate 
Ulysses' wanderings to his royal mate ; 
Or,, mingling with the suitors' haughty train, 
Not undeserving some support obtain. 
Hermes to me his various gifts imparts, 
Patron of industry and manual arts : 
Few can. with me in dexterous works contend, 
The pyre to build, the stubborn oak to rend : 
To turn the tasteful viand o'er the flame ; 
Or foam the goblet with a purple stream. 
Such are the tasks of men of mean estate, 
Whom fortune dooms to serve the rich and great." 

" Alas ! (Eumaeus with a sigh rejoin'd) 
How sprung a thought so monstrous in thy mind ? 
If on that godless race thou would'st attend, 
Fate owes thee sure a miserable end ! 
Their wrongs and blasphemies ascend the sky, 
And pull descending vengeance from on high. 
Not such, my friend, the servants of their feast : 
A blooming train in rich embroidery dress'd, 
With earth's whole tribute the bright table bends, 
And smiling round celestial youth attends. 
Stay, then : no eye askance beholds thee here ; 
Sweet is thy converse to each social ear; 
Well pleased, and pleasing, in our cottage rest 
Till good Telemachus accepts his guest 
With genial gifts, and change of fair attires, 
And safe conveys thee where thy soul desires." 



BOOK XV.] THE ODYSSEY. 219 

To him the man of woes ; " O gracious Jove ! 
Reward this stranger's hospitable love ! 
Who knows the son of sorrow to relieve, 
Cheers the sad heart, nor lets affliction grieve. 
Of all the ills unhappy mortals know, 
A life of wanderings is the greatest woe ; 
On all their weary ways wait care and pain, 
And pine and penury, a meagre train. 
To such a man since harbor you afford, 
Relate the farther fortunes of your lord ; 
What cares his mother's tender breast engage, 
And sire forsaken on the verge of age ; 
Beneath the sun prolong they yet their breath. 
Or range the house of darkness and of death ? " 

To whom the swain : " Attend what you enquire; 
Laertes lives, the miserable sire, 
Lives, but implores of every power to lay 
The burden down, and wishes for the day. 
Tore from his offspring in the eve of life, 
Torn from the embraces of his .tender wife, 
Sole, and all comfortless, he wastes away 
Old age, untimely posting ere his day. 
She too, sad mother ! for Ulysses lost 
Pined out her bloom, and vanish'd to a ghost, 
(So dire a fate, ye righteous gods ! avert 
From every friendly, every feeling heart!) 
While yet she was, though clouded o'er with grief, 
Her pleasing converse minister'd relief: 
With Climene, her youngest daughter, bred, 
One roof contain'd us, and one tabje fed. 
But when the softly-stealing pace of time 
Crept on from childhood into youthful prime 
To Samos' isle she sent the wedded fair; 
Me to the fields, to tend the rural care ; 
Array'd j n garments her own hands had wove, 
Nor less the darling object of her love. 
Her hapless death my brighter days o'ercast, 
Yet Providence deserts me not at last; 
My present labors food and drink procure, 
And more, the pleasure to relieve the poor. 
Small is the comfort from the queen to hear 
Unwelcome news, or vex the royal ear ; 
Blank and discountenanced the servants stand. 
Nor dare to question where the proud command ; 
No profit springs beneath usurping powers ; 
Want feed.-, not there where luxury devours, 
Nor harbors chanty where riot reigns; 



THE ODYSSEY. POOK XV. 



Proud are the lords, and wretched are the swains." 

The suffering chief at this began to melt ; 
And, " O Eumasus ! thou (he cries) hast felt 
The spite of fortune too ! her cruel hand 
Snatch'd thee an infant from thy native land ! - 
Snatch'd from thy parents' arms, thy parents' eyes, 
To early wants ! a man of miseries! 
The whole sad story, from its first, declare : 
Sunk the fair city by the rage of war, 
Where once thy parents dwelt ? or did they keep, 
In humbler life, the lowing herds and sheep ? 
So left perhaps to tend the fleecy train, 
Rude pirates seized, and shipp'd' thee o'er the main ? 
Doom'd a fair prize to grace some prince's board, 
The worthy purchase of a foreign lord." 

"If then my fortunes can delight my friend, 
A story fruitful of events attend : 
Another's sorrow may thy ear enjoy, 
And wine the lengthen'd intervals employ. 
Long nights the now declining year bestows ; 
A part we consecrate to soft repose, 
A part in pleasing talk we entertain ; 
For too much rest itself becomes a pain. 
Let those, whom sleep invites, the call obey, 
Their cares resuming with the dawning day : 
Here let us feast, and to the feast be join'd 
Discourse, the sweeter banquet of the mind 
Review the series of our lives, and taste 
The melancholy joy of evils pass'd : 
For he who much has suffer'd, much will know, 
And pleased remembrance builds delight on woe. 

" Above Ortygia lies an isle of fame, 
Far hence remote, and Syria is the name 
(There curious eyes inscribed with wonder trace 
The sun's diurna'l, and his annual race); 
Not large, but fruitful ; stored with grass to keep 
The bellowing oxen and the bleating sheep; 
Her sloping hills the mantling vines adorn, 
And her rich valleys wave with golden corn. 
No want, no famine, the glad natives know, 
Nor sink by sickness to the shades below ; 
But when a length of years unnerves the strong, 
Apollo comes, and Cynthia comes along. 
They bend their silver bow with tender skill, 
And. void of pain, the silent arrows kill. 
Two equal tribes this fertile land divide, 
Where two fair cities rise with equal pride. 



BOOK XV.] THE ODYSSEY. 



But both ; n constant peace one prince obey, 
And Ctesius there, my father, holds the sway. 
Freighted, it seems, with toys of every sort, 
A ship of Sidon anchor'd in our port ; 
What time it chanced the palace entertain'd, 
Skill'd in rich works, a woman of their land; 
This nymph, where anchor'd the Phoenician train, 
To wash her robes descending to the main, 
A smooth-tongued sailor won her to his mind 
(For love deceives the best of womankind). 
A sudden trust from sudden liking grew ; 
She told her name, her race, and all she knew. 
' I too (she cried) from glorious Sidon came, 
My father Arybas, of wealthy fame : 
But, snatclvd by pirates from my native place, 
The Taphians sold me to this man's embrace.' 

" ' Haste then (the false designing youth replied), 
Haste to thy country ; love shall be thy guide; 
Haste to thy father's house, thy father's breast, 
For still he lives, and lives with riches blest." 

" ' Swear first (she cried), ye sailors ! to restore 
A wretch in safety to her native shore.' 
Swift as she ask'd, the ready sailors swore. 
She then proceeds : ' Now let our compact made 
Be nor by signal nor by word betray'd, 
Nor near me any of your crew descried, 
By road frequented, or by fountain side. 
Be silence still our guard. The monarh's spies 
(For watchful age is ready to surmise) 
Are still at hand ; and this, reveal'd, must be 
Death to yourselves, eternal chains to me. 
Your vessel loaded, and your traffic pass'd, 
Despatch a wary messenger with haste ; 
Then gold and costly treasures will I bring, 
And more, the infant offspring of the king. 
Him, child-like wandering forth, I'll lead away 
(A noble prize !) and to your ship convey." 

" Thus spoke the dame, and homeward took the road. 
A year they traffic, and their vessel load. 
Their stores complete, and ready now to weigh, 
A spy was sent their summons to convey. 
An artist to my father's palace came, 
With gold and amber chains, elaborate frame : 
Each female eye the glittering links employ; 
They turn, review, and cheapen every toy. 
He took the occasion, as they stood intent, 
Gave her the sign, and to his vessel went. 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XV. 



She straight pursued, and seized my willing arm j 

I follow'd, smiling, innocent of harm. 

Three golden goblets in the porch she found 

(The guests not enter'd, but the table crown'd) ; 

Hid in her fraudful bosom these she bore : 

Now set the sun, and darken'd all the shore. 

Arriving then, where tilting on the tides 

Prepared to launch the, freighted vessel rides, 

Aboard they heave us, mount their decks, and sweep 

With level oar along the glassy deep. 

Six calmy days and six smooth nights we sail, 

And constant Jove supplied the gentle gale. 

The seventh, the fraudful wretch (no cause descried), 

Touch'd bv Diana's vengeful arrow, died. 

Down dropp'd the caitiff-corse, a worthless load, 

Down to the deep ; there roll'd, the future food 

Of fierce sea-wolves, and monsters of the flood. 

An helpless infant I remain'd behind ; 

Thence borne to Ithaca by wave and wind ; 

Sold to Laertes by divine command, 

And now adopted to a foreign land." 

To him the king : " Reciting thus thy cares, 
My secret soul in all thy sorrow shares ; 
But one choice blessing (such is Jove's high will) 
Has sweeten'd all thy bitter draught of ill : 
Torn from thy country to no hapless end, 
The gods have, in a master, given a friend. 
Whatever frugal nature needs is thine 
(For she needs little), daily bread and wine. 
While 1, so many wanderings past, and woes, 
Live but on what thy poverty bestows." 

So passed in pleasing dialogue away 
The night ; then down to short repose they lay, 
Till radiant rose the messenger of day. 
While in the port of Ithaca, the band 
Of young Telemachus approach'd the land ; 
Their sails they loosed, they lash'd the mast aside, 
And cast their anchors, and the cables tied : 
Then on the breezy shore, descending, join 
In grateful banquet o'er the rosy wine. 
When thus the prince : " Now* each his course pursue j 
I to the fields, and to the city you. 
Long absent hence, I dedicate this day 
My swains to visit, and the works survey. 
Expect me with the morn, to pay the skies 
Our debt of safe return in feast and sacrifice." 

Then Theoclymenus : " But who shall lend, 



BOOK XV.] THE ODYSSEY. 223 

Meantime, protection to thy stranger friend ? 
Straight to the queen and palace shall 1 fly, 
Or yet more distant, to some lord apply ? " 

The prince return'd : " Renown'ct in days of your 
Has stood our father's hospitable door ; 
No other roof a stranger should receive, 
No other hands than ours the welcome give. 
But in my absence riot nils the place, 
Nor bears the modest queen a stranger's face; 
From noiseful revel far remote she flies, 
But rarely seen, or seen with weeping eyes. 
No let Eurymachus receive my guest, 
Of nature courteous, and by far the best ; 
He wooes the queen with more respectful flame, 
And emulates her former husband's fame, 
With what success, 'tis Jove's alone to know, 
And the hoped nuptials turn to joy or woe." 

Thus speaking, on the right up-soar'd in air 
The hawk, Apollo's swift-wing'd messenger: * 
His dreadful pounces tore a trembling dove; 
The clotted feathers, scatter'd from above, 
Between the hero and the vessel pour 
Thick plumage mingled with a sanguine shower. 

The observing augur took the prince aside, 
Seized by the hand, and thus prophetic cried: 
"Yon bird, that dexter cuts the aerial road, 
Rose ominous, nor flies without a god : 
No race but thine shall Ithaca obey, 
To thine, for ages, Heaven decrees the sway." 

* "Succeed the omens, gods ! (the youth rejoin'd :) 
Soon shall my bounties speak a grateful mind, 
And soon each envied happiness attend 

The man who calls Telemachus his friend." 
Then to Peiraeus : " Thou whom time has proved 
A faithful servant, by thy prince beloved ! 
Till we returning shall our guest demand, 

* The haivk. Colonel Mure has pointed out, with a delicacy i\nd acutt-ness of 
judgment that cannot be too highly commended, the gradual dawning of the fate of 
the suitors. He well remarks that, " in order rightly to apprehend the spirit of these 
mysterious forewarning* of the impending fatality, it will be proper to trace them as 
they occur dispersed throughout the latter half of the poem, and, for the most part, 
in the months f f persons who seem to have no distinct consciousness cf their import. 

" Th disembarkation of Telemachus on the shore of Ithaca, with his inspired 
guest Theociymenus, is greeted by the appearance of a hawk, designated 'the swift 
messenger of Apollo,' tearing a dove to pieces, and strewing the feathers on the 
earth around the hero. This omen the seer emphatically pronounces to be significant 
of prosperity and power to the royal house of Ithaca. The allusion to the strewing of 
the bodies of its enemies by the weapons of the god, as the feathers of the victim 
had been scattered by his winged messenger, is abundantly obvious." Mure, vol. u 
p. 382. 



224 THE ODYSSEY [BooK XV. 

Accept this charge with honor, at our hand." 

To this Peiraeus : " Joyful I obey, 
Well pleased the hospitable rites to pay. 
The presence of thy guest shall best reward 
(If long thy stay) the absence of my lord." 

With that, their anchors he commands to weigh, 
Mount the tall bark, and launch into the sea. 
All with obedient haste forsake the shores, 
And, placed in order, spread their equal oars. 
Then from the deck the prince his sandals takes ; 
Poised in his hand the pointed javelin shakes. 
They part ; while, lessening from the hero's view, 
Swift to the town the well-row'd galley flew : 
The hero trod the margin of the main, 
And reach'd the mansion of his faithful swain. 



BOOK XVI.] THE ODYSSEY. 225 



BOOK XVI. 

ARGUMENT. 



THK DSCOV 



Telemachus arriving at the lodge of Eumaeus, sends him to carry Penelope the news 
of his return. Minerva appearing to Ulysses, commands him to discover himself 
to his son. The princes, who had lain in ambush to intercept Telemachus in his 
way, their project being defeated, return to Ithaca. 

SOON as the morning blush'd along the plains, 
Ulysses, and the monarch of the swains, 
Awake the sleeping fires, their meals prepare, 
And forth to pasture send the bristly care. 
The prince's near approach the dogs descry, 
And fawning round his feet confess their joy. 
Their gentle blandishment the king survey'd, 
Heard his resounding step, and instant said : 

" Some well-known friend, Eumaeus, bends this way ; 
His steps I hear; the dogs familiar play." 
While yet he spoke, the prince advancing drew 
Nigh to the lodge, and now appear'd in view. 
Transported from his seat Eumaeus sprung, 
Dropp'd the full bowl, and round his bosom hung ; 
Kissing his cheek, his hand, while from his eye 
The tears rain'd copious in a shower of joy, 
As some fond sire who ten long winters grieves, 
From foreign climes an only son receives 
(Child of his age), with strong paternal joy, 
Forward he springs, and clasps the favorite boy: 
So round the youth his arms Eumaeus spread, 
As if the grave had given him from the dead. 

" And is it thou ? my ever-dear delight ! 
Oh, art thou come to bless my longing sight? 
Never, I never hoped to view this day, 
When o'er the waves you plough'd the desperate way. 
Enter, my child ! Beyond my hopes restored, 
Oh give these eyes to feast upon their lord. 
Enter, oh seldom seen! for lawless powers 
Too much detain thee from these sylvan bowers." 
15 



226 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVI. 

The prince replied : " Eumaeus, I obey ; 
To seek thee, friend, I hither took my way. 
But say, if in the court the queen reside 
Severely chaste, or if commenced a bride ? " 

Thus he ; and thus the monarch of the swains : 
" Severely chaste Penelope remains ; 
But, lost to every joy, she wastes the day 
In tedious cares, and weeps the night away." 

He ended, and (receiving as they pass 
The javelin, pointed with a star of brass), 
They reach'd the dome; the dome with marble shined. 
His seat Ulysses to the prince resign'd. 
" Not so (exclaims the prince with decent grace) 
For me, this house shall find an humbler place : 
To usurp the honors due to silver hairs 
And reverend strangers modest youth forbears." 
Instant the swain the spoils of beasts supplies, 
And bids the rural throne with osiers rise. 
There sate the prince : the feast Eumaeus spread, 
And heap'd the shining canisters with bread. 
Thick o'er the board the plenteous viands lay, 
The frugal remnants of the former day. 
Then in a bowl he tempers generous wines, 
Around whose verge a mimic ivy twines. 
And now, the rage of thirst and hunger fled, 
Thus young Ulysses to Eumasus said : 

"Whence, father, from what shore this stranger, say? 
What vessel bore him o'er the watery way ? 
To human step our land impervious lies, 
And round the coast circumfluent oceans rise." 

The swain returns : " A tale of sorrows hear: 
In spacious Crete he drew his natal air; 
Long doom'd to wander o'er the land and main, 
For Heaven has wove his thread of life with pain. 
Half breathless 'scaping to the land he flew 
From Thesprot mariners, a murderous crew. 
To thee, my son, the suppliant I resign ; 
I gave him my protection, grant him thine." 

" Hard task (he cries) thy virtue gives thy friend, 
Willing to aid, unable to defend. 
Can strangers safely in the court reside. 
'Midst the swell'd insolence of lust and pride ? 
E'en I unsafe : the queen in doubt to wed, 
Or pay due honors to the nuptial bed. 
Perhaps she weds regardless of her fame, 
Deaf to the mighty Ulyssean name. 
However, stranger ! from our grace receive 



BOOK XVI.] THE ODYSSEY. 227 

Such honors as befit a prince to give ; 
Sandals, a sword and robes, respect to prove, 
And safe to sail with ornaments of love. 
Till then, thy guest amid the rural train, 
Far from the court, from danger far, detain. 
'Tis mine with food the hungry to supply, 
And clothe the naked from the inclement sky. 
Here dwell in safety from the suitors' wrongs, 
And the rude insults of ungovern'd tongues. 
For shouldst thou suffer, powerless to relieve, 
I must behold it, and can only grieve. 
The brave, encompass'd by ah hostile train, 
O'erpower'd by numbers, is but brave in vain." 

To whom, while anger in his bosom glows, 
With warmth replies the man of mighty woes : 
"Since audience mild is deign'd. permit my tongue 
At once to pity and resent thy wrong. 
My heart weeps blood to see a soul so brave 
Live to base insolence or power a slave. 
But tell me, dost thou, prince, dost thou behold, 
And hear their midnight revels uncontroll'd ? 
Say, do thy subjects in bold faction rise, 
Or priests in fabled oracles advise ? 
Or are thy brothers, who should aid thy power, 
Turn'd mean deserters in the needful hour ? 
Oh that I were from great Ulysses sprung, 
Or that these wither'd nerves like thine were strung, 
Or, heavens ! might he return ! (and soon appear 
He shall, I trust; a hero scorns despair): 
Might he return, I yield my life a prey 
To my worst foe, if that avenging day 
Be not their last : but should I lose my life, 
Oppress'd by numbers in the glorious strife, 
I choose the nobler part, and yield my breath, 
Rather than bear dishonor, worse than death ; 
Than see the hand of violence invade 
The reverend stranger, and the spotless maid; 
Than see the wealth of kings consumed in waste, 
The drunkards' revel, and the glutton's feast." 

Thus he, with anger flashing from his eye ; 
Sincere the youthful hero made reply: 
" Nor leagued in factious arms my subjects rise, 
Nor priests in fabled oracles advise ; 
Nor are my brothers, who should aid my power, 
Turn'd mean deserters in the needful hour. 
Ah me ! I boast no brother ; heaven's dread King 
Gives from our stock an only branch to 'spring: 



228 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVI. 

Alone Laertes reign'd Arcesius' heir, 
Alone Ulysses drew the vital air, 

nd I alone the bed connubial graced, 
An unbless'd offspring of a sire unbless'd ! 
Each neighboring realm, conducive to our woe, 
Sends forth her peers, and every peer a foe : 
The court proud Samos and Dulichium fills, 
And lofty Zacinth crown'd with shady hills. 
E'en Ithaca and all her lords invade 
The imperial sceptre, and the regal bed : 
The queen, averse to love, yet awed by 'lower, 
Seems half to yield, yet flies the bridal hour: 
Meantime their license uncontroll'd I bear ; 
E'en new they envy me the vital air: 
But Heaven will sure revenge, and gods there are. 

" But go, Eumaeus ! to the queen impart 
Our safe return, and ease a mother's heart. 
Yet secret go; for numerous are my foes, 
And here at last I may in peace repose." 

To whom the swain : " I hear and I obey : 
But old Laertes weeps his life away, 
And deems thee lost : shall I my speed employ 
To bless his age : a messenger of joy ? 
The mournful hour that tore his son away 
Sent the sad sire in solitude to stray ; 
Yet busied with his slaves, to ease his woe, 
He'dress'd the vine, and bade the garden blow 
Nor food nor wine refused ; but since the day 
That you to Pylos plough 'd the watery way, 
Nor wine nor food he tastes ; but, sunk in woes, 
Wild springs the vine, no more the garden blows. 
Shut from the walks of men, to pleasure lost, 
Pensive and pale he wanders, half a ghost." 

" Wretched old man ! (with tears the prince returns) 
Yet cease to go what man so blest but mourns ? 
Were every wish indulged by favoring skies, 
This hour should give Ulysses to my eyes. 
But to the queen with speed despatchful bear 
Our safe return, and back with speed repair; 
And let some handmaid of her train resort 
To good Laertes in his rural court." 

While yet he spoke, impatient of delay, 
He braced his sandals on, and strode away : 
Then from the heavens the martial goddess flies 
Through the wide fields of air, and cleaves the skies : 
In form, a virgin in soft beauty's bloom, 
Skill'd in the Illustrious labors of the loom. 



BOOK XVLi THE ODYSSEY. 229 

Alone to Ithaca she stood display'd, 

But unapparent as a viewless shade 

Escaped Telemachus (the powers above, 

Seen or unseen, o'er earth at pleasure move): 

The dogs intelligent confess'd the tread 

Of power divine, and howling, trembling fled. 

The goddess, beckoning waves her deathless hands : 

Dauntless the king before the goddess stands : 

"Then why (she said), O favor'd of the skies! 

Why to thy godlike son this long disguise ? 

Stand forth reyeal'd ; with him thy cares employ 

Against thy foes ; be valiant, and destroy ! 

Lo ! I descend in that avenging hour, 

To combat by thy side, thy guardian power." 

She said, and o'er him waves her wand of gold : 
Imperial robes his manly limbs infold ; 
At once with grace divine his frame improves ; 
At once with majesty enlarged he moves : 
Youth flush'd his reddening cheek, and from his brows 
A length of hair in sable ringlets flows ; 
His blackening chin receives a deeper shade ; 
Then from his eyes upsprung the warrior-maid. 

The hero reascends : the prince o'erawed 
Scarce lifts his eves, and bows as to a god. 
Then with surprise (surprise chastised by fears) : 
" How art thou changed ! (he cried) a god appears ! 
Far other vests thy limbs majestic grace, 
Far other glories lighten from thy face! 
If heaven be thy abode, with pious care 
Lo! I the ready sacrifice prepare: 
So ! gifts of labor'd gold adorn thy shrine, 
To win thy grace : O save us, power divine ! " 

" Few are my days (Ulysses made reply), 
Nor I, alas ! descendant of the sky. 
I am thy father. O my son ! my son ! 
That father, for whose sake thy days have run 
One scene of woe ! to endless cares consign'd, 
And outraged by the wrongs of base mankind." 

Then, rushing to his arms, he kiss'd his boy 
With the strong raptures of a parent's joy. 
Tears bathe his cheek, and tears the ground bedew : 
He strain'd him close, as to his breast he grew. 
"Ah me 1 (exclaims the prince with fond desire) 
Thou art not no, thou canst not be my sire. 
Heaven such illusion only can impose, 
By the false joy to aggravate my woes. 
Who but a god can change the general doom, 



230 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVI. 

And give to wither'd age a youthful bloom ! 

Late, worn with years, in weeds obscene you trod ; 

Now, clothed in majesty, you move a god ! " 

"Forbear (he cried), for Heaven reserve that name ; 
Give to thy father but a father's claim: 
Other Ulysses shalt thou never see, 
I am Ulysses, I, my son, am he.. 
Twice ten sad years o'er earth and ocean toss'd, 
'Tis given at length to view my native coast. 
Pallas, unconquer'd maid, my frame surrounds 
With grace divine : her power admits no bounds: 
She o'er my limbs old age and wrinkles shed ; 
Now strong as youth, magnificent I tread. 
The gods with ease frail man depress or raise, 
Exalt the lowly, or the proud debase." 

He spoke and sate. The prince with transport flew, 
Hung round his neck, while tears his cheek bedew: 
Nor less the father pour'd a social flood ; 
They wept abundant, and they wept aloud. 
As the bold eagle with fierce sorrow stung, 
Or parent vulture, mourns her ravish'd young; 
They cry, they scream, their unfledged brood a prey 
To some rude churl, and be rae by steal h away: 
So they aloud : and tears in tides had run, 
Their grief unfinish'd with the setting sun; 
But checking the full torrent in its flow, 
TKe prince thus interrupts the solemn woe : 
" What ship transported thee, O father, say ; 
And what bless'd hands have oar'd thee on the way ? " 

"All, all (Ulysses instant made reply), 
I tell thee all, my child, my only joy ! 
Phaeacians bore me to the port assign'd, 
A nation ever to the stranger kind ; 
Wrapp'd in the embrace of sleep, the faithful train 
O'er seas convey'd me to my native reign : 
Embroider'd vestures, gold, and brass, are laid 
Conceal'd in caverns in the sylvan shade. 
Hither, intent the rival rout to slay, 
And plan the scene of death, I bend my way ; 
So Pallas wills but thou, my son, explain 
The names and numbers of the audacious train ; 
'Tis mine to judge if better to employ 
Assistant force, or singly to destroy." 

"O'er earth (returns the prince) resounds thy name. 
Thy well-tried wisdom, and thy martial fame, 
Yet at thy words I start, in wonder lost ; 
Can we engage, not decades but an host ? 



BOOK XVI-1 THE ODYSSEY. 231 



Can we alone in furious battle stand, 
Against that numerous and determined band ? 
Hear then their numbers ; from Dulichium came 
Twice twenty-six, all peers of mighty name. 
Six are their menial train : twice twelve the boast 
Of Samos ; twenty from Zacynthus' coast: 
And twelve our country's pride ; to these belong 
Medon and Phemius, skill'd in heavenly song. 
Two sewers from day to day the revels wait, 
Exact of taste, and serve the feast in state 
With such a foe the unequal fight to try, 
Were by false courage unrevenged to die. 
Then what assistant powers you boast relate, 
Ere yet we mingle in the stern debate." 

" Mark well my voice (Ulysses straight replies^ 
What need of aids, if favor'd by the skies ? 
If shielded to the dreadful fight we move, 
By mighty Pallas, and by thundering Jove ? ' 

" Sufficient they (Telemachus rejoin'd) 
Against the banded powers of all mankind: 
They, high -enthroned above the rolling clouds, 
Wither the strength of man, and awe the gods." 

"Such aids expect (he cries), when strong in might 
We rise terrific to the task of fight. 
But thou, when morn salutes the aerial plain. 
The court revisit and the lawless train : 
Me thither in disguise Eumaeus leads. 
An aged mendicant in. tatter'd weeds. 
There, if base scorn insult my reverend age, 
Bear it, my son ! repress thy rising rage. 
If outraged, cease that outrage to repel ; 
Bear it, my son ! hovve'er thy heart rebel. 
Yet strive by prayer and counsel to restrain 
Their lawless insults, though thou strive in vain : 
For wicked ears are deaf to wisdom's call, 
And vengeance strikes whom Heaven has doom'd to fall. 
Once more attend : when she whose power inspires* 
The thinking mind, my soul to vengeance fires, 
I give the sign: that instant, from beneath, 
Aloft convey the instruments of death, 
Armor and arms ; and, if mistrust arise, 
Thus veil the truth in plausible disguise: 

" ' These glittering weapons, ere he sail'd to Troy, 
Ulysses view'd with stern heroic joy : 
Then, beaming o'er the illumined wall they shone; 

* Minerva. 



232 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVI. 

Now dust dishonors, all their lustre gone. 

I bear them hence (so Jove my soul inspires), 

From the pollution of the fuming fires ; 

Lest when the bowl inflames, in vengeful mood 

Ye rush to arms, and stain the feast with blood : 

Oft ready swords in luckless hour incite 

The hand of wrath, and arm it for the fight.' 

" Such be the plea, and by the plea deceive 
For Jove infatuates all, and all believe. 
Yet leave for each of us a sword to wield, 
A pointed javelin, and a fenceful shield. 
But by my blood that in thy bosom glows, 
By that regard a son his father owes ; 
The secret, that thy father lives, retain 
Lock'd in thy bosom from the household train; 
Hide it from all ; e'en from Eumaeus hide, 
From my dear father, and my dearer bride. 
One care remains, to note the loyal few 
Whose faith yet lasts among the menial crew ; 
And noting, ere we rise in vengeance, prove 
Who love his prince ; for sure you merit love." 

To whom the youth : " To emulate, I aim, 
The brave and wise, and my great father's fame. 
But reconsider, since the wisest err, 
Vengeance resolved, 'tis dangerous to defer. 
W T hat length of time must we consume in vain, 
Too curious to explore the menial train! 
While the proud foes, industrious to destroy 
Thy wealth, in riot the delay enjoy. 
Suffice it in this exigence alone 
To mark the damsels that attend the throne : 
Dispersed the youth reside ; their faith to prove 
Jove grants henceforth, if thou hast spoke from Jove." 

While in debate they waste the hours away, 
The associates of the prince repass'd the bay : 
With speed they guide the vessel to the shores ; 
With speed debarking land the naval stores : 
Then, faithful to their charge, to Clytius bear, 
And trust the presents to his friendly care. 
Swift to the queen a herald flies to impart 
Her son's return, and ease a parent's heart; 
Lest a sad prey to ever-musing cares. 
Pale grief destroy what time awhile forbears. 

The incautious herald with impatience burns, 
And cries aloud, " Thy son, O queen, returns ; ' 
Eumaeus sage approach'd the imperial throne, 
And breathed his mandate to her ear alone, - 



BOOK XVI.] THE ODYSSEY. 233 



Then measured back the way. The suitor band, 
Stung to the soul, abash'd, confounded stand; 
And issuing from the dome, before the gate, 
With clouded looks, a pale assembly sate. 

At length Eurymachus : ''Our hopes are vain ; 
Telemachus in triumph sails the main. 
Haste, rear the mast, the swelling shroud display ; 
Haste, to our ambush'd friends the news convey!" 

Scarce had he spake, when, turning to the strand, 
Amphinomus survey'd the associate band ; 
Full to the bay within the winding shores 
With gather'd sails they stood, and lifted oars. 
" O friends ! " he cried, elate with rising joy, 
" See to the port secure the vessel fly ! 
Some god has told them, or themselves survey 
The bark'escaped ; and measure back their way." 

Swift at the word descending to the shores, 
They moor the vessel and unlade the stores : 
Then, moving from the strand, apart they sate, 
And full and frequent form'd a dire debate. 

" Lives then the boy ? he lives (Antinoiis cries), 
The care of gods and favorite of the skies. 
All night we watch'd, till with her orient wheels 
Aurora flamed above the eastern hills, 
And from the lofty brow of rocks by day 
Took in the ocean with a broad survey : 
Yet safe he sails ; the powers celestial give 
To shun the hidden snares of death, and live. 
But die he shall, and thus condemn'd to bleed, 
Be now the scene of instant death decreed, 
Hope ye success ? undaunted crush the foe. 
Is he not wise ? know this, and strike the blow. 
Wait ye, till he to arms in council draws 
The Greeks, averse too justly to our cause ? 
Strike, ere, the states convened, the foe betray 
Our murderous ambush on the watery way, 
Or choose ye vagrant from their rage to fly, 
Outcasts of earth, to breathe an unknown sky? 
The brave prevent misfortune ; then be brave, 
And bury future danger in his grave. 
Returns he ? ambush'd we'll his walk invade 
Or where he hides in solitude and shade ; 
And give the palace to the queen a dower 
Or him she blesses in the bridal hour. 
But if submissive you resign the sway, 
Slaves to a boy, go, flatter and obey. 
Retire we instant to our native reign, 



f34 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVI. 

Nor be the wealth of kings consumed in vain ; 

Then wed whom choice approves : the queen b'e given 

To some blest prince, the prince decreed by Heaven." 

Abash'd, the suitor train his voice attends ; 
Till from his throne Amphinomus ascends, 
Who o'er Dulichium stretch'd his spacious reign, 
A land of plenty, bless'd with every grain : 
Chief of the numbers who the queen address'd, 
And though displeasing, yet displeasing least. 
Soft were his words ; his actions wisdom sway'd ; 
Graceful awhile he paused, then mildly said : 

" O friends, forbear ! and be the thought withstood: 
'Tis horrible to shed imperial blood! 
Consult we first the all-seeing powers above, 
And the sure oracles of righteous Jove. 
If they assent, e'en by this hand he dies ; 
If they forbid, I war not with the skies." 

He said : the rival train his voice approved, 
And rising instant to the palace moved. 
Arrived, with wild tumultuous noise they sate, 
Recumbent on the shining thrones of state. 

Then Medon, conscious of their dire debates, 
The murderous counsel to the queen relates. 
Touch 'd at the dreadful story, she descends : 
Her hasty steps a damsel train attends. 
Full where the dome its shining valves expands, 
Sudden before the rival powers she stands ; 
And, veiling, decent, with a modest shade 
Her cheek, indignant to Antinous said : 

" O void of faith ! of all bad men the worst ! 
Renown'd for wisdom, by the abuse accursed ! 
Mistaking fame proclaims thy generous mind : 
Thy deeds denote thee of the basest kind. 
Wretch ! to destroy a prince that friendship gives, 
While in his guest his murderer he receives ; 
Nor dread superior Jove, to whom belong 
The cause of suppliants, and revenge of wrong. 
Hast thou forgot, ungrateful as thou art, 
Who saved thy father with a friendly part ? 
Lawless he ravaged with his martial powers 
The Taphian pirates on Thesprotia's shores ; 
Enraged, his life, his treasures they demand; 
Ulysses saved him from the avenger's hand. 
And would'st thou evil for his good repay ? 
His bed dishonor, and his house betray? 
Afflict his queen, and with a murderous hand 



BOOK XVI.] THE ODYSSEY. 235 

Destroy his heir ? but cease, 'tis I command." 

" Far hence those fears (Eurymachus replied), 
O prudent princess ! bid thy soul confide. 
Breathes there a man who dares that hero slay, 
While I behold the golden light of day ? 
No : by the righteous powers of heaven I swear, 
His blood in vengeance smokes upon my spear. 
Ulysses, when my infant days I led. 
With wine sufficed me, and with dianties fed : 
My generous soul abhors the ungrateful part, 
And my friend's son lives nearest to my heart. 
Then fear no mortal arm ; if Heaven destroy, 
We must resign : for man is born to die." 

Thus smooth he ended, yet his death conspired : 
Then sorrowing, with sad step the queen retired, 
With streaming eyes, all comfortless deplored, 
Touch'd with the dear remembrance of her lord 
Nor ceased till Pallas bids her sorrows fly, 
And in soft slumber seal'd her flowing eye. 

And now Eumaeus, at the evening hour, 
Came late, returning to his sylvan bower. 
Ulysses and his son had dress'd with art 
A yearling boar, and gave the gods their part. 
Holy repast ! That instant from the skies 
The martial goddess to Ulysses flies : 
She waves her golden wand, and reassumes 
From every feature every grace that blooms ; 
At once his vestures change ; at once she sheds 
Age o'er his limbs, that tremble as he treads ; 
Lest to the queen the swain with transport fly, 
Unable to contain the unruly joy. 

When near he drew, the prince breaks forth : " Proclaim 
What tidings, friend ? what speaks the voice of fame ? 
Say, if the suitors measure back the main, 
Or still in ambush thirst for blood in vain ? " 

" Whether (he cries) they measure back the flood, 
Or still in ambush thirst in vain for blood, 
Escaped my care : where lawless suitors sway, 
Thy mandate borne, my soul disdain 'd to stay. 
But from the Hermaean height I cast a view, 
Where to the port a bark high-bounding flew: 
Her freight a shining band : with martial air 
Each poised his shield, and each advanced his spear ; 
And, if aright these searching eyes survey, 
The eluded suitors stem the watery way." 

The prince, well pleased to disappoint their wiles. 



236 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVI. 

Steals on his sire a glance, and secret smiles. 
And now, a short repast prepared, they fed 
Till the keen rage of craving hunger fled : 
Then to repose withdrawn, apart they lay, 
And in soft sleep forgot the cares of day. 



BOOK XVII.] THE ODYSSEY. 237 



BOOK XVII. 



ARGUMENT. 

Telemachus returning to the city, relates to Penelope the sum of his travels. Ulysses 
is conducted by Eumaeus to the palace, where his old dog Argus acknowledges his 
master, after an absence of twenty years, and dies with joy. Eumaeus returns into 
the country, and Ulysses remains among the suitors, whose behavior is described. 

SOON as Aurora, daughter of the dawn, 
Sprinkled with roseate light the dewy lawn, 
In haste the prince arose, prepared to part; 
His hand impatient grasps the pointed dart; 
Fair on his feet the polish'd sandals shine, 
And thus he greets the master of the swine : 

" My friend, adieu ! let this short stay suffice ; 
I haste to meet my mother's longing eyes, 
And end her tears, her sorrows, and her sighs. 
But thou, attentive, what we order heed: 
This hapless stranger to the city lead : 
By public bounty let him there be fed, 
And bless the hand that stretches forth the bread. 
To wipe the tears from all afflicted eyes, 
My will may covet, but my power de'nies. 
If this raise anger in the stranger's thought, 
The pain of anger punishes the fault : 
The very truth I undisguised declare ; 
For what so easy as to be sincere ? " 

To this Ulysses : " What the prince requires 
Of swift removal, seconds my desires. 
To want like mine the peopled town can yield 
More hopes of comfort than the lonely field : 
Nor fits my age to till the labor'd lands, 
Or stoop to tasks a rural lord demands. 
Adieu ! but since this ragged garb can bear 
So ill the inclemencies ofmorning air, 
A few hours' space permit me here to stay ; 
My steps Eumaeus shall to town convey, 
With riper beams when Phoebus warms the day." 

Thus he ; nor aught Telemachus replied, 
But left the mansion with a lofty stride : 



23 8 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK 

Schemes of revenge his pondering breast elate, 

Revolving deep the suitors' sudden fate, 

Arriving now before the imperial hall, 

He props his spear against the pillar'd -.vail ; 

Then like a lion o'er the threshold bounds ; 

The marble pavement with his steps resounds : 

His eye first glanced where Euryclea spreads 

With furry spoils of beasts the splendid beds : 

She saw, she wept, she ran with eager pace, 

And reach'd her master with a long embrace. 

All crowded round, the family appears 

With wild enhancement, and ecstatic tears. 

Swift from above descends the royal fajr 

(Her beauteous cheeks the blush of Venus wear, 

Chasten'd with coy Diana's pensi-ve air) ; 

Hangs o'er her son, in his embraces dies ^ 

Rains kisses on his neck, his face, his eyes : 

Few words she spoke, though much she had to say; 

And scarce thq$e few, for tears, could force their way. 

" Light of my eyes ! he comes ! unhoped-for joy ! 
Has Heaven from Pylos brought my lovely boy ? 
So snatch'd from all our cares ! Tell, hasr thou known 
Thy father's fate, and tell me all thy own." 

" Oh dearest ! most revered of womankind ! 
Cease with those tears to melt a manly mind 
(Replied the prince) ; nor be our fates deplored, 
From death and treason to thy arms restored. 
Go bathe, and robed in white ascend the towers ; 
With all thy handmaids thank the immortal powers ; 
To every god vow hecatombs to bleed. 
And call Jove's vengeance on their guilty deed. 
While to the assembled council I repair : 
A stranger sent by Heaven attends me there; 
My new accepted guest I haste to find, 
Now to Heirasus' honor'd charge consign'd." 

The matron heard, nor was his word in vain. 
She bathed ; and, robed in white, with all her train, 
To every god vow'd hecatombs to bleed, 
- And call'd Jove's vengeance on the guilty deed. 

Arm'd with his lance, the prince then pass'd the gate; 
Two dogs behind, a faithful guard, await ; 
Pallas his form with grace divine improves : 
The gazing crowd admires him as he moves. 
Him, gathering round, the haughty suitors greet, 
With semblance fair, but inward deep deceit, 
Their false addresses, generous, he denied, 
Pass'd on, and sate by faithful Mentor's side ; 



BOOK XVI1.J THE ODYSSEY. 239 

With Antiphus, and Halitherses sage 

(His father's counsellors, revered for age). 

Of his own fortunes, and Ulysses' fame, 

Much ask'd the seniors; till 1'eirjeus came. 

The stranger-guest pursued him close behind ; 

Whom when Telemachus beheld, he join'd. 

He (when Peirseus ask'd for slaves to bring 

The gifts and treasures of the Spartan king) 

Thus thoughtful answer'd : " Those we shall not move, 

Dark and unconscious of the will of Jove ; 

We know not yet the full event of all : 

Stabb'd in his palace if your prince must fall, 

Us, and our house, if treason must o'erthrow, 

Better a friend possess them than a foe ; 

If death to these, and vengeance Heaven decree, 

Riches are welcome then, not else, to me. 

Till then retain the gifts." The hero said, 

And in his hand the willing stranger led. 

Then disarray'd, the shining bath they sought 

(With unguents smodth) of polish'd marble wrought : 

Obedient handmaids with assistant toil 

Supply the limpid wave, and fragrant oil : 

Then o'er their limbs refulgent robes they threw, 

And fresh from bathing to their seats withdrew. 

The golden ewer a nymph -attendant brings 

Replenished from the pure translucent springs ; 

With copious streams that golden ewer supplies 

A silver laver of capacious size. 

They wash : the table, in fair order spread, 

Is piled with viands and the strength of bread. 

Full opposite, before the folding gate, 

The pensive mother sits in humble state ; 

Lowly she sate, and with dejected view 

The fleecy threads her ivory fingers drew. 

The prince and stranger shared the genial feast, 

Till now the rage of thirst and hunger ceased. 

When thus the queen : " My son ! my only friend ! 
Say, to mv mournful couch shall I ascend ? 
. (The couch deserted now a length of years ; 
The couch forever water'd with my tears ;) 
Say, wilt thou not (ere yet the suitor crew 
Return, and riot shakes our walls anew), 
Say, wilt thou not the least account afford ? 
The least glad tidings of my absent lord ? " 

To her the youth : " We reach'd the Pylian plains, 
Where Nestor, shepherd of his people, reigns. 
All arts of tenderness to him are known. 



240 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVII. 

Kind to Ulysses' race as to his own ; 
No father with a fonder grasp of joy 
Strains to his bosom his long-absent boy. 
But all unknown, if yet Ulysses breathe, 
Or glide a spectre in the realms beneath; 
For farther search, his rapid steeds transport 
My lenglhen'd journey to the Spartan court. 
There Argive Helen 1 beheld, whose charms 
(So Heaven decreed) engaged the great in arms. 
My cause of coming told, he thus rejoin'd ; 
And still his words live perfect in my mind : 

" ' Heavens ! would a soft, inglorious, dastard train 
An absent hero's nuptial joys profane ! 
So with her young, amid the woodland shades, 
A timorous hind the lion's'court invades, 
Leaves in that fatal lair her tender fawns, 
And climbs the cliffs, or feeds along the lawns ; 
Meantime returning, with remorseless sway 
The monarch savage rends the panting prey : 
With equal fury, and with equal fame, 
Shall great Ulysses reassert his claim. 
O Jove ! supreme ! whom men and gods revere ; 
And thou whose lustre gilds the rolling sphere ! 
With power congenial join'd, propitious aid 
The chief adopted by the martial maid ! 
Such to our wish the warrior soon restore," 
*As when, contending on the Lesbian shore, 
His prowess Philomelides confess'd, 
And loud acclaiming Greeks the victor bless'd : 
Then soon the invaders of his bed, and throne, 
Their love presumptuous shall by death atone. 
Now what you question of my ancient friend, 
With truth I answer ; thou the truth attend. 
Learn what I heard the sea-born seer * relate, 
Whose eyes can pierce the dark recess of fate. 
Sole in an isle, imprison'd by the main. 
The sad survivor of his numerous train, 
Ulysses lies ; detain'd by magic charms, 
And press'd unwilling in Calypso's arms. 
No sailors there, no vessels to convey, 
No oars to cut the immeasurable way.' 
This told Atrides, and he told no more. 
Then safe I voyaged to my native shore." 

He ceased ; nor made the pensive queen reply, 
But droop'd her head, and drew a secret sigh. 

* Proteus. 



BOOK XVII.] THE ODYSSEY. 241 

When Theoclymenus the seer began : 

" O suffering consort of the suffering man ! 

What human knowledge could, those kings might tell, 

But I the secrets of high heaven reveal. 

Before the first of gods be this declared, 

Before the board whose blessings we have shared ; 

Witness the genial rites, and witness all 

This house holds sacred in her ample wall! 

E'en now, this instant, great Ulysses, laid 

At rest, or wandering in his country's shade, 

Their guilty deeds, in hearing, and in view, 

Secret revolves ; and plans the vengeance due. 

Of this sure auguries the gods bestow'd, 

When first our vessel anchor'd in your road." 

" Succeed those omens, Heaven ! (the queen rejoin'd) 
So shall our bounties speak a grateful mind; 
And every envied happiness attend 
The man who calls Penelope his friend." 

Thus communed they : while in the marble court 
(Scene of their insolence) the lords resort ; 
Athwart the spacious square each tries his art, 
To whirl the disk, or aim the missile dart. 

Now did the hour of sweet repast arrive, 
And from the field the victim flocks they drive : 
Medon the herald (one who pleased them best, 
And honor'd with a portion of their feast), 
To bid the banquet, interrupts their play : 
Swift to the hall they haste ; aside they lay 
Their garments, and succinct the victims slay. 
Then sheep, and goats, and bristly porkers bled, 
And the proud steer was o'er the marble spread. 

While thus the copious banquet they provide, 
Along the road, conversing side by side, 
Proceed Ulysses and the faithful swain ; 
When thus Eumaeus, generous and humane : 

" To town, observant of our lord's behest, 
Now let us speed ; my friend, no more my guest ! 
Yet like myself I wish thee here preferr'd, 
Guard of the flock, or keeper of the herd. 
But much to raise my master's wrath I fear ; 
The wrath of princes ever is severe. 
Then heed his will, and be our journey made 
While the broad beams of Phoebus are display'd, 
Or ere brown evening spreads her chilly shade." 

" Just thy advice (the prudent chief rejoin'd), 
And such as suits the dictate of my mind. 
Lead on : but help me to some staff to stay 
16 



242 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVII. 

My feeble step, since rugged is the way." 

Across his shoulders then the scrip he flung, 
Wide-patch'd, and fasten'd by twisted thong. 
A staff Eumaeus gave. Along the way 
Cheerly they fare : behind, the keepers stay; 
These with their watchful dogs (a constant guard) 
Supply his absence, and attend the herd, 
And now his city strikes the monarch's eyes, 
Alas ! how changed ! a man of miseries ; 
Propp'd on a staff, a beggar old and bare, 
In rags dishonest fluttering with the air ! 
Now pass'd the rugged road, they journey down 
The cavern'd way descending to the town, 
Where, from the rock, with liquid drops distils 
A limpid fount ; that spread in parting rills 
Its current thence to serve the city brings ; 
An useful work, adorn 'd by ancient kings'. 
Neritus, Ithacus, Polyctor, there, 
In sculptured stone immortalized their care, 
In marble urns received it from above, 
And shaded with a green surrounding grove ; 
Where silver alders, in high arches twined, 
Drink the cool stream, and tremble to the wind. 
Beneath, sequester'd to the nymphs, is seen 
A mossy altar, deep embower'd in green ; 
Where constant vows by travellers are paid, 
And holy horrors solemnize the shade. 

Here with his goats (not vow'd to sacred fame, 
But pamper'd luxury) Melanthius came : * 
Two grooms attend him. With an envious look 
He eyed the stranger, and imperious spoke : 
" The good old proverb how this pair fulfil 
One rogue is usher to another still. 



* Melanthius. Th: following remarks of Colonel Mure should be borne in mind 
during this and the following book : 

" The male representative of the rebellious rassalage of Ulysses is the goatherd 
Melanthius. The female ringleader of the same faction is Melantho, waiting-maid of 



Penelope. The correspondence of name and disposition naturally leads to suspect 
some b'ood-rclationship between the two. Nowhere, however, is there any r.otir- 
that effect on the part of Homer. It is only by collation of incidental passage 



tho is described, in xviii. 321, as the daughter of Do'ius, head gardener, and favorite 
servant of Laertes, and as having been educate'! by Penelope, with great tenderness, 
for her own service, but now lost to all sense <>f shame or duty, and the mistress of 
Eurymachus. Melanthius is also styled son of Do'ius: and although it is nowhere 
said that this Dolius was the same person as the father of Melanthp. the fact may be 
inferred from the circumstance of her paramour, Eurymachus, being also described 
as the patron of Melanthius, who, accordingly, occupies a place by his side when ad- 
mitted to the table of the suitors. The intimacy with the sister sufficiently explains 
the favor to the brother." Mure, vol. i. p. 378. 



BOOK XVII.] THE ODYSSEY. 243 



Heaven with a secret principle endued 

Mankind, to seek their own similitude. 

Where goes the swineherd with that ill-look'd guest? 

That giant-glutton, dreadful at a feast ! 

Full many a post have those broad shoulders worn, 

From every great man's gate repulsed with scorn: 

To no brave prize aspired the worthless swain, 

'Twas but for scraps he ask'd, and ask'd in vain. 

To beg, than work, he better understands, 

Or we perhaps might take him off thy hands. 

For any office could the slave be good, 

To cleanse the fold, or help the kids to food. 

If any labor those big joints could learn, 

Some whey, to wash his bowels, he might earn. 

To cringe, to whine, his idle hands to spread. 

Is all, by which that graceless maw is fed. 

Yet hear me ! if thy. impudence but dare 

Approach yon wall, I prophesy thy fare : 

Dearly, full dearly, shalt thou buy thy bread 

With many a footstool thundering at thy head." 

He thus : nor insolent of word alone, 
Spurn'd with his rustic heel his king unknown ; 
Spurn'd, but not moved : he like a pillar stood, 
Nor stirr'd an inch, contemptuous, from the road : 
Doubtful, or with his staff to strike him dead, 
Or greet the pavement with his worthless head. 
Short was that doubt; to quell his rage inured, 
The hero stood self-conquer'd, and endured. 
But hateful of the wretch, Eumaeus heaved 
His hands obtesting, and this prayer conceived : * 
" Daughters of Jove ! who from the ethereal bowers 
Descend to swell the springs, and feed the flowers ! 
Nymphs of this fountain ! to whose sacred names 
Our rural victims mount in blazing flames ! 
To whom Ulysses' piety preferred 
The yearly firstlings of his flock and herd; 
Succeed my wish, your votary restore : 
Oh, be some god his convoy to oar shore ) 

* This praytr conceived. "After the insult off ered by the treacherous Mehn- 
thius to the disguised Ulysses, on his walk to the city, Emnseus puts forth a prayer 
for the speedy return of his master, to cu:b and punish such brutal conduct, 'i he 
goatherd scornfully retorts with a wish, ' that Telemachus were as sure of being smit- 
ten that day by Apollo in the palace hall, or of falling by the hands of the suitors, as 
he is sure that ILy^es will never return to Ithaca.' Now, when it is remembered, 
that not only was Ulysses to return, the minister of his own wrath, and that of the god 
whom the base peasant invokes, but that Melamhius himself was to be involved in 
the same speedy destruction as his licentious patrons, these few lines, which '.he care- 
less reader passes over as mere matter of epic routine, will appear replete with omi- 
nous allusion to the impending catastrophe." Mure, vol. i. p. .182. 



244 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVIL 

Due pains shall punish then this slave's offence, 
And humble all his airs of insolence, 
Who, proudly stalking, leaves the herds at large. 
Commences courtier, and neglects his charge." 

"What mutters he? (Melanthius sharp rejoins;) 
This crafty miscreant, big with dark designs ? 
The day shall come nay, 'tis already near 
When, slave ! to sell thee at a price too dear 
Must be my care ; and hence transport thee o'er, 
A load and scandal to this happy shore. 
Oh ! that as surely great Apollo s dart 
Or some brave suitor's sword, might pierce the heart 
Of the proud son ; as that we stand this hour 
In lasting safety from the father's power! " 

So spoke the wretch, but, shunning farther fray, 
Turn'd his proud step, and left them on their way. 
Straight to the feastful palace he repair'd, 
Familiar enter'd, and the banquet shared ; 
Beneath Eurymachus, his patron lord, 
He took his place, and plenty heap'd the board. 

Meantime they heard, soft circling in the sky, 
Sweet airs ascend, and heavenly minstrelsy 
(For Phemius to the lyre attuned the strain) : 
Ulysses hearken'd then address'd the swain : 

" Well may this palace admiration claim, 
Great, and respondent to the master's fame ! 
Stage above stage the imperial structure stands, 
Holds the chief honors, and the town commands : 
High walls and battlements the courts inclose, 
And the strong gates defy a host of foes. 
Far other cares its dwellers now employ : 
The throng'd assembly and the feast of joy : 
I see the smokes of sacrifice aspire, 
And hear (what graces every feast) the lyre." 

Then thus Eumaeus : " Judge we which were best ; 
Amidst yon revellers a sudden guest 
Choose you to mingle, while behind I stay ? 
Or I first entering introduce the way ? 
Wait for a space without, but wait not long ; 
This is the house of violence and wrong : 
Some rude insult thy reverend age may bear ; 
For like their lawless lords the servants are." 

"Just is, O friend ! thy caution, and address'd 
(Replied the chief, to no unheedful breast: 
The wrongs and injuries of base mankind 
Fresh to my sense, and always in my mind. 
The bravely-patient to no fortune yields : 



BOOK XVII.] THE ODYSSEY. 245 

On rolling oceans, and in fighting fields, 

Storms have I pass'd, and many a stern debate ; 

And now in humbler scene submit to fate. 

What cannot want ? The best she will expose, 

And I am learn'd in all her train of woes ; 

She fills with navies, hosts, and loud alarms, 

The sea, the land, and shakes the world with arms ! 

Thus, near the gates conferring as they drew, 
Argus, the dog, his ancient master knew : 
He not unconscious of the voice and tread, 
Lifts to the sound his ear, and rears his head ; 
Bred by Ulysses, nourish'd at his board, 
But, ah ! not fated long to please his lord; 
To him, his sweetness and his strength were vain; 
The voice of glory call'd him o'er the main. 
Till then in every sylvan chase renown'd, 
With Argus, Argus, rung the woods around ; 
With him the youth pursued the goat or fawn, 
Or traced the mazy leveret o'er the lawn. 
Now left to man's ingratitude he lay, 
Unhoused, neglected in the public way ; 
And where on heaps the rich manure was spread, 
Obscene with reptiles, took his sordid bed. 

He knew his lorJ ; he knew, and strove to meet : 
In vain he strove to crawl and kiss his feet; 
Yet (all he could) his tail, his ears, his eyes, 
Salute his master, and confess his joys. 
Soft -pity touch'd the mighty master's soul ; 
Adown his cheek a tear unbidden stole, 
Stole unperceived : he turn'd his head and dried 
The drop humane : then thus impassion'd cried : 

"What noble beast in this abandon'd state 
Lies here all helpless at Ulysses' gate? 
His bulk and beauty speak no vulgar praise : 
If, as he seems, he was in better days, 
Some care his age deserves ; or was he'prized 
For worthless beauty ? therefore now despised ; 
Such dogs and men there are, mere things of state ; 
And always cherish'd by their friends, the great." 

" Not Argus so (Eumaeus thus rejoined), 
But served a master of a nobler kind, 
Who never, never shall behold him more ! 
Long, long since perish'd on a distant shore ! 
Oh had you seen him, vigorous, bold, and young, 
Swift as a stag, and as a lion strong : 
Him no fell savage on the plain withstood, 
None 'scaped him bosom'd in the gloomy wood ; 



246 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVII. 

His eye how piercing, and his scent how true, 

To wind the vapor in the tainted dew ! 

Such, when Ulysses left his natal coast ; 

Now years unnerve him, and his lord is lost! 

The women keep the generous creature bare, 

A sleek and idle race is aJl their care : 

The master gone, the servants what restrains ? 

Or dwells humanity where riot reigns ? 

Jove fix'd it certain, that whatever day 

Makes man a slave, takes half his worth away." 

This said, the honest herdsmen strode before ; 
The musing monarch pauses at the door: 
The dog, whom Fate had granted to behold 
His lord, when twenty tedious years had roll'd, 
Takes a last look, and, having seen him, dies ; 
So closed forever faithful Argus' eyes ! 

And now Telemachus, the first of all, 
Observed Eumaeus entering in the hall ; 
Distant he saw, across the shady dome ; 
Then gave a sign, and beckon'd him to come : 
There stood an empty seat, where late was placed, 
In order due, the steward of the feast, 
(Who now was busied carving round the board), 
Eumaeus took, and placed it near his lord. 
Before him instant was the banquet spread, 
And the bright basket piled with loaves of bread. 

Next came Ulysses lowly at the door 
A figure despicable, old, and poor. 
In squalid vests, with many a gaping rent, 
Propp'd on a staff, and trembling as he went. 
Then, resting on the threshold of the gate, 
Against a cypress pillar lean'd his weight 
( Smooth 'd by the workman to a polish 'cl plane); 
The thoughtful son beheld, and call'd his swain : 

" These viands, and this bread, Eumaeus ! bear, 
And let yon mendicant our plenty share : 
And let him circle round the suitors' board, 
And try the bounty of each gracious lord. 
Bold let him ask, encouraged thus by me ; 
How ill, alas ! do want and shame agree ! " 

His lord's command the faithful servant bears ; 
The seeming beggar answers with his prayers : 
" Bless'd be Telemachus ! in every deed 
Inspire him, Jove ! in every wish succeed ! " 
This said, the portion from his son convey'd 
With smiles receiving on his scrip he laid. 
Long has the minstrel swept the sounding wire, 



BOOK XVII.] THE ODYSSEY. 247 

He fed, and ceased when silence held the lyre. 
Soon as the suitors from the banquet rose, 
Minerva prompts the man of mighty woes 
To tempt their bounties with a suppliant's art, 
And learn the generous from the ignoble heart 
(Not but his soul, resentful as humane, 
Dooms to full vengeance all the offending train) ; 
With speaking eyes, and voice of plaintive sound 
Humble he moves, imploring all around. 
The proud feel pity, and relief bestow, 
With such an image touch'd of human woe ; 
Inquiring all, their wonder they confess, 
And eye the man, majestic in distress. 

While thus they gaze and question with their eyes, 
The bold Melanthius to their thought replies : 
" My lords ! this stranger of majestic port 
The good Eumaeus usher'd to your court. 
Full well I mark'd the features of his face, 
Though all unknown his clime, or noble race." 

" And is this present, swineherd ! of thy hand ? 
Bring'st thou these vagrants to infest the land ? 
(Returns Antinous with retorted eye) 
Objects uncouth, to check the genial joy. 
Enough of these our court already grace, 
Of giant stomach, and of famish'd face. 
Such guests Eumaeus to his country brings, 
To share our feast, and live the life of kings." 

To whom the hospitable swain rejoins : 
" Thy passion, prince, belies thy knowing mind. 
Who calls, from distant nations to his own, 
The poor, distinguish'd by their wants alone ? 
Round the wide world are sought those men divine 
Who public structures raise, or who design ; 
Those to whose eyes the gods their ways reveal, 
Or bless with salutary arts to heal ; 
But chief to poets such respect belongs, 
By rival nations courted for their songs ; 
These states invite, and mighty kings admire. 
Wide as the sun displays his vital fire. 
It is not so with want ! how few that feed 
A wretch unhappy, merely for his need ! 
Unjust to me, and all that serve the state, 
To love Ulysses is to raise thy hate. 
For me, suffice the approbation won 
Of my great mistress, and her godlike son." 

To him Telemachus : " No more incense 
The man by nature prone to insolence : 



248 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XViJ. 

Injurious minds just answers but provoke " 

Then turning to Antinoiis, thus he spoke : 

" Thanks to thy care ! whose absolute command 

This drives the stranger from our court and land. 

Heaven bless its owner with a better mind ! 

From envy free, to charity inclined. 

Thus both Penelope and I afford : 

Then, prince ! be bounteous of Ulysses' board. 

To give another's is thy hand so slow? 

So much more sweet to spoil than to bestow? " 

" Whence, great Telemacbus ! this lofty strain? 
(Antinoiis cries with insolent disdain:) 
Portions like mine if every suitor gave, 
Our walls this twelvemonth should not see the slave." 

He spoke, and lifting high above the board 
His ponderous footstool, siiook it at his lord. 
The rest with equal hand conferr'd the bread : 
He fill'd his scrip, and to the threshold sped ; 
But first before Antinoiis stopp'd, and said : 
" Bestow, my friend ! tliou dost not seem the worst 
Of all the Greeks, but prince-like and the first ; 
Then, as in dignity, be first in worth, 
And I shall praise thee through the boundless earth. 
Once I enjoy'd in luxury of state 
Whate'er gives man the envied name of great ; 
Wealth, servants, friends, were mine in better days ; 
And hospitality was then my praise ; 
In every sorrowing soul I pour'd delight, 
And poverty stood smiling in my sight. 
But Jove, all-governing, whose only will 
Determines fate, and mingles good with ill, 
Sent me (to punish my pursuit of gain) 
With roving pirates o'er the Egyptian main : 
By Egypt's silver flood our ships we moor ; 
Our spies commission'd straight the coast explore 
But impotent of mind, with lawless will 
The country ravage, and the natives kill. 
The spreading clamor to their city flies, 
And horse and foot in mingled tumults rise: 
The reddening dawn reveals the hostile fields, 
Horrid with bristly spears, and gleaming shields : 
Jove thunder'd on their side : our guilty head 
We turn'd to flight ; the gathering vengeance spread 
On all parts round, and heaps on heaps lay dead. 
Some few the foe in servitude detain ; 
Death ill exchanged for bondage and for pain! 
Unhappy me a Cyprian took aboard, 



BOOK XVII.l THE ODYSSEY. 249 

And gave to Dmetor, Cyprus' haughty lord : 
Hither, to 'scape his chains, my course I steer, 
Still cursed by Fortune, and insulted here ! " 

To whom Antinoiis thus his rage express'd : 
" What god has plagued us with this gourmand guest ? 
Unless at distance, wretch ! thou keep behind, 
Another isle, than Cyprus more unkind, 
Another Egypt shalt thou quickly find. 
From all thou begg'st, a bold audacious slave ; 
Nor all can give so much'as thou canst crave. 
Nor wonder I, at such profusion shown ; 
Shameless they give, who give what's not their own." 

The chief, retiring : " Souls, like that in thee, 
111 suits such forms of grace and dignity. 
Nor will that hand to utmost need afford 
The smallest portion of a wasteful board, 
Whose luxury whole patrimonies sweeps, 
Yet starving want, amidst the riot, weeps." 

The haughty suitor with resentment burns, 
And, sourly smiling, this reply returns : 
" Take that, ere yet thou quit this princely throng; 
And dumb forever be thy slanderous tongue! " 
He said, and high the whirling tripod flung. 
His shoulder-blade received the ungentle shock; 
He stood, and moved not, like a marble rock ; 
But shook his thoughtful head, nor more complain'd, 
Sedate of soul, his character sustain'd, 
And inly form'd revenge : then back withdrew : 
Before his feet the well-fill'd scrip he threw, 
And thus with semblance mild address'd the crew : 

" May what I speak your princely minds approve, 
Ye peers and rivals in this noble love ! 
Nor for the hurt I grieve, but for the cause. 
If, when the sword our country's quarrel draws, 
Or if, defending what is justly dear, 
From Mars impartial some broad wound we bear, 
The generous motive dignifies the scar. 
But for mere want, how hard to suffer wrong ! 
Want brings enough of other ills along ! 
Yet, if injustice never be secure, 
If fiends revenge, and gods assert the poor, 
Death shall lay low the proud aggressor's head, 
And make the' dust Antinoiis' bridal bed." 

" Peace, wretch ! and eat thy bread without offence 
(The suitor cried), or force shall drag thee hence, 
Scourge through the public street, and cast thee there, 
A mangled carcase for the hounds to tear." 



250 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVII. 



His furious deed the general anger moved, 
All, even the worst, condemn'd : and some reproved. 
" Was ever chief for wars like these renown'd ? 
Ill fits the stranger and the poor to wound. 
Unbless'd thy hand ! if in this low disguise 
Wander, perhaps, some inmate of the skies ; 
They (curious oft of mortal actions) deign 
In forms like these to round the earth and main, 
Just and unjust recording in their mind, 
And with sure eyes inspecting all mankind." 

Telemachus, absorb'd in thought severe, 
Nourish'd deep anguish, though he shed no tear; 
But the dark brow of silent sorrow shook : 
While thus his mother to her virgins spoke : 

" On him and his may the bright god of day 
That base, inhospitable blow repay ! " 
The nurse replies : " If Jove receives my prayer 
Not one survives to breathe to-morrow's air." 

" All, all are foes, and mischief is their end ; 
Antinoiis most to gloomy death a friend 
(Replies the queen) : the stranger begg'd their grace, 
And melting pity soften'd every face ; 
From every other hand redress he found, 
But fell Antinoiis answer'd with a wound." 
Amidst her maids thus spoke the prudent queen, 
Then bade Eumaeus call the pilgrim in. 
" Much of the experienced man I long to hear, 
If or his certain eye, or listening ear, 
Have learn'd the fortunes of my wandering lord ? " 
Thus she, and good Eumaeus took the word : 

" A private audience if thy grace impart, 
The stranger's words may ease the royal heart. 
His sacred eloquence in balm distils, 
And the soothed heart with secret pleasure fills. 
Three days have spent their beams, three nights have run 
Their silent journey, since his tale begun, 
Unfinish'd yet ; and yet I thirst to hear! 
As when some heaven-taught poet charms the ear 
(Suspending sorrow with celestial strain 
Breathed from the gods to soften human pain) 
Time steals away with unregarded wing, 
And the soul hears him, though he cease to sing. 

" Ulysses late he saw, on Cretan ground 
(His father's guest), for Minos' birth renown'd. 
He now but waits the wind to waft him o'er, 
With boundless treasure, from Thesprotia's shore." 

To this the queen : " The wanderer let me hear, 



BOOK XVII.] THE ODYSSEY. 251 

While yon luxurious race indulge their cheer, 
Devour the grazing ox, and browsing goat, 
And turn my generous vintage down their throat. 
For where's an arm, like thine, Ulysses ! strong, 
To curb wild riot, and to punish wrong ? " 

She spoke. Telemachus then sneezed aloud ; 
Constrain'd, his nostril echoed through the crowd. 
The smiling queen the happy omen bless'd : 

"So may these impious fall, by Fate oppress'd ! " 
Then to Eumaeus : " Bring the stranger, fly ! 
And if my questions meet a true reply. 
Graced with a decent robe he shall retire, 
A gift in season which his wants require." 

Thus spoke Penelope. Eumaeus flies 
In duteous haste, and to Ulysses cries: 
" The queen invites thee, venerable guest ! 
A secret instinct moves her troubled breast, 
Of her long absent lord from thee to gain 
Some light, and sooth her soul's eternal pain. 
If true, if faithful thou, her grateful mind 
Of decent robes a present has design'd ; 
So finding favor in the royal eye, 
Thy other wants her subjects shall supply." 

" Fair truth alone (the patient man replied) 
My words shall dictate, and my lips shall guide. 
To him, to me, one common lot was given, 
In equal woes, alas ! involved by Heaven. 
Much of his fates I know ; but check'd by fear 
I stand ; the hand of violence is here : 
Here boundless wrongs the starry skies invade, 
And injured suppliants seek in vain for aid. 
Let for a space the pensive queen attend, 
Nor claim my story till the sun descend ; 
Then in such robes as suppliants may require, 
Composed and cheerful by the, genial fire, 
When loud uproar and lawless riot cease, 
Shall her pleased ear receive my words in peace." 

Swift to the queen returns the gentle swain : 
" And say (she cries), does fear, or shame detain 
The cautious strang-er ? With the begging kind 
Shame suits but ill." Eumaeus thus rejoin'd : 

" He only asks a more propitious hour, 
And shuns (who would not ?) wicked men in power; 
At evening mild (meet season to confer) 
By turns to question, and by turns to hear." 

"Whoe'er this guest (the prudent queen replies) 
His every step and every thought is wise. 



252 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVII. 

For men like these on earth he shall not find 
In all the miscreant race of human kind." 

Thus she. Eumasus all her words attends, 
And, parting, to the suitor powers descends ; 
There seeks Telemachus, and thus apart 
In whispers breathes the fondness of his heart : 

" The time, my lord, invites me 'to repair 
Hence to the lodge ; my charge demands my care. 
These sons of murder thirst thy life to take ; 
O guard it, guard it, for thy servant's sake ! " 

"Thanks to my friend (he cries) ; but now the hour 
Of night draws on, go seek the rural bower : 
But first refresh : and at the dawn of day 
Hither a victim to the gods convey. 
Our life to Heaven's immortal powers we trust, 
Safe in their care, for Heaven protects the just." 

Observant of his voice, Eumaeus sate 
And fed recumbent on a chair of state. 
Then instant rose, and as he moved along, 
'Twas riot all amid the suitor throng, 
They feast, they dance, ana raise the mirthful song. 
Till now, declining towards the close of day, 
The sun obliquely shot his dewy ray. 



BOOK XVIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 253 



BOOK XVIII. 

ARGUMENT. 

THB FIGHT OF ULYSSES AND IRUS. 

The beggar Jrus insults Ulysses ; the suitors promote the quarrel, in which Irus is 
worsted and miserably handled. Penelope descends, and receives the presents of 
the suitors. The dialogue of Ulysses with Etirymachus. 

WHILE fix'd in thought the pensive hero sate, 

A mendicant approach'd the royal gate ; 

A surly vagrant of the giant kind, 

The stain of manhood, of a coward mind : 

From feast to feast, insatiate to devour, 

He flew, attendant on the genial hour. 

Him on his mother's knees, when babe he lay, 

She named Arnaeus on his natal day : 

But Irus his associates call'd the boy, 

Practised the common messenger to fly; 

Irus, a name expressive of the employ. 

From his own roof, with meditated blows, 
He strove to drive the man of mighty woes : 

" Hence, dotgrd! hence, and timely speed thy way, 
Lest dragg'd in vengeance thou repent thy stay ; 
See how with nods assent yon princely train ! * 
But honoring age, in mercy I refrain : 
In peace away ! lest, if persuasions fail, 
This arm with blows more eloquent prevail." 
To whom, with stern regard : " O insolence, 
Indecently to rail without offence! 
What bounty gives without a rival share ; 
I ask, what harms not thee, to breathe this air: 
Alike on alms we both precarious liv^e : 
And canst thou envy when the great relieve ? 
Know, from the bounteous heavens all riches flow, 
And what man gives, the gods by man bestow ; 
Proud as thou art, henceforth no more be proud, 
Lest I imprint my vengeance in thy blood ; 
Old as I am, should once my fury burn. 
How would'st thou fly, nor e'en in thought return ! " 



254 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVIII. 



" Mere woman-glutton ! (thus the churl replied ;) 
A tongue so flippant, with a throat so wide ! 
Why cease I, gods ! to dash those teeth away, 
Like some wild boar's, that, greedy of his prey, 
Uproots the bearded corn ? Rise, try the fight, 
Gird well thy loins, approach, and feel my might : 
Sure of defeat, before the peers engage : 
Unequal fight, when youth contends with age ! " 

Thus in a wordy war their tongues display 
More fierce intents, preluding to the fray ; 
Antinoiis hears, and in a jovial vein, 
Thus with loud laughter to the suitor-train : 

" This happy day in mirth, my friends, employ, 
And lo ! the gods conspire to crown our joy ; 
See ready for the fight, and hand to hand, 
Yon surly mendicants contentious stand : 
Why urge we not to blows ! " Well pleased they spring 
Swift from their seats, and thickening form a ring. 

To whom Antinoiis : " Lo ! enrich'd with blood, 
A kid's well-fatted entrails (tasteful food) 
On glowing embers lie ; on him bestow 
The choicest portion who subdues his foe ; 
Grant him unrivall'd in these walls to stay, 
The sole attendant on the genial day." 

The lords applaud : Ulysses then with art, 
And fears well-feign'd, disguised Ins dauntless heart : 

" Worn as lam with age, decay'd with woe ; 
Say, is it baseness to decline the foe ? 
Hard conflict ! when calamity and age 
With vigorous youth, unknown to cares, engage ! 
Yet, fearful of disgrace, to try the day 
Imperious hunger bids, and I obey ; 
But swear, impartial arbiters of right, 
Swear to stand neutral, while we cope in fight." 

The peers assent : when straight his sacred head 
Telemachus upraised, and sternly said : 

" Stranger, if prompted to chastise the wrong! 
Of this bold insolent, confide, be strong ! 
The injurious Greek that dares attempt a blow, 
That instant makes Telemachus his foe ; 
And these my friends * shall guard the sacred ties 
Of hospitality, for they are wise." 

Then, girding his strong loins, the king prepares f 

* Antinou and Eurymachus- 

1 " Judged by a more fastidious standard, the boxing match with the befrgar Irus 
has objectionable features ; yet, if the poet was justified in disgnisipg his licro as a 
mendicant, he was bound to carry him through his part with spirit. Ulysses certainly 



BOOK XVIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 255 

To close in combat, and his body bares ; 

Broad spread his shoulders, and his nervous thighs 

By just degrees, like well-turn'd columns, rise : 

Ample his chest, his arms are round and long, 

And each strong joint Minerva knits more strong 

(Attendant on her chief) : the suitor-crowd 

With wonder gaze, and gazing speak aloud : 

" Irus ! alas ! shall Irus be no more ? 

Black fate impends, and this the avenging hour ! 

Gods ! how his nerves a matchless strength proclaim, 

Swell o'er his well-strung limbs, and brace his frame! " 

Then pale with fears, and sickening at the sight, 
They dragg'd the unwilling Irus to the fight; 
'From his blank visage fled the coward blood, 
And his flesh trembled as aghast he stood. 

" Oh that such baseness should disgrace the light ! 
O hide it, death, in everlasting night! 
(Exclaims Antinoiis) ; can a vigorous foe 
Meanly decline to combat age and woe ? 
But hear me, wretch ! if recreant in the fray 
That huge bulk yield this ill-contested day, 
Instant thou sail'st, to Eschetus resign'cl ; 
A tyrant, fiercest of the tyrant kind, 
Who casts thy mangled ears and nose a prey 
To hungry dogs, and lops the man away." 

While with indignant scorn he sternly spoke, 
In every joint the trembling Irus shook. 
Now front to front each frowning champion stands, 
And poises high in air his adverse hands. 
The chief yet doubts, or to the shades below 
To fell the giant at one vengeful blow, 
Or save his life ; and soon his life to save 
The king resolves, for mercy sways the brave. 
That instant Irus his huge arm extends, 
Full on his shoulder the rude weight descends : 
The sage Ulysses, fearful to disclose 
The hero latent in the man of woes, 
Check'd half his might ; yet, rising to the stroke, 
His jaw-bone dash'd, the crashing jaw-bone broke : 
Down dropp'd he stupid from the stunning -wound ; 
His feet extended, quivering, beat the ground ; 
His mouth and nostrils spout a purple flood ; 
His teetli, all shatter'd, rush immix'd with blood. 

The peers transported, as outstretch'd he lies, 

appears as the prince of beggars ; nor probably was his royal dignity taniished, in ihe 
spirit of heroic manners, by the righteous chastisement inflicted on the base profaner 
of his palace hall." Mure s Homer, p. 396. 



256 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVIII. 

With bursts of laughter rend the vaulted skies; 

Then dragg'd along, all bleeding from the wound, 

His length of carcase trailing prints the ground: 

Raised on his feet, again he reels, he falls, 

Till propp'd, reclining on the palace walls: 

Then to his hand a staff the victor gave, 

And thus with just reproach address'd the slave : 

"There terrible, affright the dogs, and reign 

A dreaded tyrant o'er the bestial train! 

But mercy to the poor and stranger show, 

Lest Heaven in vengeance send some mightier woe." 

Scornful he spoke, and o'er his shoulder flung 
The broad-patch'd scrip ; the scrip in tatters hung 
111 join'd, and knotted to a twisted thong. 
Then, turning short, disdain'd a further stay ; 
But to the palace measured back the way. 
There, as he rested, gathering in a ring. 
The peers with smiles address'd their unknown king : 
" Stranger, may Jove and all the aerial powers 
With every blessing crown thy happy hours! 
Our freedom to thy prowess'd arm we owe 
From bold intrusion of thy coward foe ; 
Instant the flying sail the slave shall wing 
To Eschetus, the monster of a king." 

While pleased he hears, Antmiios bears the food, 
A kid's well-fatted entrails, rich with blood : 
The bread from canisters of shining mould 
Amphinomus ; and wines that laugh in gold : 
" And oh ! (he mildly cries) may Heaven display 
A beam of glory o'er thy future day ! 
Alas, the brave too oft is doom'd to bear 
The gripes of poverty, and stings of care." 

To whom with thought mature the king replies : 
"The tongue speaks wisely, when the soul is wise. 
Such was thy father ! in imperial state, 
Great without vice, that oft attends the great : 
Nor from the sire art thou, the son, declined ; 
Then hear my words, and grave them in thy mind ! 
Ol all that breathes, or grovelling creeps on earth, 
Most man in vain ! calamitous by birth : 
To-day, with power elate, in strength he blooms ; 
The haughty creature on that power presumes : 
Anon from Heaven a sad reverse he feels : 
Untaught to bear, 'gainst Heaven the wretch rebels. 
For man is changeful, as his bliss or woe ! 
Too high when prosperous, when distress'd too low. 
There was a day, when with the scornful great 



BOOK XVIIL] THE ODYSSEY. 257 

I swell'd in pomp and arrogance of state ; 
Proud of the power that to high birth belongs : 
And used that power to justify my wrongs. 
Then let not man be proud ; but firm of mind, 
Bear the best humbly, and the worst resign'd ; 
Be dumb when Heaven afflicts ! unlike yon train 
Of haughty spoilers, insolently vain ; 
Who make their queen and all her wealth a prey : 
But vengeance and Ulysses wing their way. 

mayst thou, favor'd by some guardian power, 
Far, far be distant in that deathful hour! 

For sure I am, if stern Ulysses breathe, 
These lawless riots end in blood and death." 

Then to the gods the rosy juice lie pours, 
' And the drain'd goblet to the chief restores. 
Stung to the soul, o'ercast with holy dread, 
He shook the graceful honors of his head ; 
His boding mind the future woe forestalls, 
In vain! by great Telemachus he falls, 
For Pallas seals his doom : all sad he turns 
To join the peers ; resumes his throne, and mourns. 

Meanwhile Minerva with instinctive fires 
Thy soul, Penelope, from Heaven inspires : 
With flattering hopes the suitors to betray, 
And seem to meet, yet fly, the bridal day : 
Thy husband's wonder, and thy son's to raise ; 
And crown the mother and the wife with praise. 
Then, while the streaming sorrow dims her eyes, 
Thus, with a transient smile, the matron cries : 

" Eurynomei ! to go where riot reigns 

1 feel an impulse, though my soul disdains ; 
To my loved son the snares of death to show, 
And in the traitor-friend unmask the foe ; 
Who, smooth of tongue, in purpose insincere, 

Hides fraud in smiles, while death is ambush'd there." 
" Go, warn thy son, nor be the warning vain 

(Replied the sagest of the royal train) ; 

But bathed, anointed, and adorn'd, descend ; 

Powerful of charms, bid every grace attend ; 

The tide of flowing tears awhile suppress; 

Tears but indulge the sorrow, not repress. 

Some joy remains : to thee a son is given, 

Such as, in fondness, parents ask of Heaven." 

"Ah me ! forbear ! " returns the queen, "forbear, 

Oh ! talk not, talk not of vain beauty's care ; 

No more I bathe, since he no longer sees 

Those charms, for whom alone I wish to please. 



25 8 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVIII. 

The day that bore Ulysses from this coast 
Blasted the little bloom these cheeks could boast. 
But instant bid Autonoe descend, 
Instant Hippodame our steps attend ; 
111 suits it female virtue, to be seen 
Alone, indecent, in the walks of men " 

Then while Eurynome the mandate bears, 
From heaven Minerva shoots with guardian cares 
O'er all her senses, as the couch she press'd, 
She pours a pleasing, deep, and death-like rest, 
With every beauty every feature arms, 
Bids her cheeks glow, and lights up all her charms 
In her love-darting eyes awakes the fires 
(Immortal gifts! to kindle soft desires) ; 
From limb to limb an air majestic sheds, 
And the pure ivory o'er her bosom spreads. 
Such Venus shines, when with a measured bound 
She smoothly gliding swims the harmonious round, 
When with the Graces in the dance she moves, 
And fires the gazing gods with ardent loves. 

Then to the skies her flight Minerva bends, 
And to the queen the damsel train descends : 
Waked at their steps, her flowing eyes unclose ; 
The tears she wipes, and thus renews her woes : 
" Howe'er 'tis well that sleep awhile can free, 
With soft forgetfulness. a wretch like me ; 
Oh ! were it given to yield this transient breath, 
Send, O Diana! send the sleep of death ! 
Why must I waste a tedious life in tears, 
Nor bury in the silent grave my cares ? 
O my Ulysses ! ever-honor'd name ! 
For thee I mourn till death dissolves my frame." 

Thus wailing, slow and sadlv she descends, 
On either hand a damsel train attends : 
Full where the dome its shining valves expands 
Radiant before the gazing peers she stands ; 
A veil translucent o'er her brow display'd, 
Her beauty seems, and only seems, to shade : 
Sudden she lightens in their dazzled eyes, 
And sudden flames in every bosom rise, 
They send their eager souls with every look, 
Till silence thus the imperial matron broke : 

" O why ! my son, why now no more appears 
That warmth of soul that urged thy younger years ? 
Thy riper days no growing worth impart, 
A man in stature, still a boy in heart ! 
Thy well-knit frame un profitably strong, 



BOOK XVIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 259 

Speaks thee a hero, from a hero sprung : 
But the just gods in vain those gifts bestow, 

wise alone in form, and brave in show ! 
Heavens ! could a stranger feel oppression's hand 
Beneath thy roof, and could 'st thou tamely stand ? 
If thou the stranger's righteous cause decline, 
His is the sufferance, but the shame is thine." 

To whom, with filial awe, the prince returns : 
" That generous soul with just resentment burns ; 
Yet, taught by time, my heart has learn'd to glow 
For others' good, and melt at others' woe ; 
But, impotent those riots to repel, 

1 bear their outrage, though my soul rebel ; 
Helpless amid the snares of death I tread, 
And numbers leagued in impious union dread ; 
But now no crime is theirs : this wrong proceeds 
From Irus, and the guilt) 7 Irus bleeds. 

Oh would to Jove ! or her whose arms display 
The shield of Jove, or him who rules the day ! 
That yon proud suitors, who licentious tread 
These courts, within these courts like Irus bled : 
Whose loose head tottering, as with wine oppress'd, 
Obliquely drops, and nodding knocks his breast; 
Powerless to move, his staggering feet deny 
The coward wretch the privilege to fly." 

Then to the queen Eurymachus replies : 
" O justly loved, and not more fair than wise ! 
Should Greece through all her hundred states survey 
Thy finish'd charms, all Greece would own thy sway, 
In rival crowds contest the glorious prize, 
Dispeopling realms to gaze upon thy eyes : 
O woman ! loveliest of the lovely kind, 
In body perfect, and complete in mind." 

"Ah me ! (returns the queen) when from this shore 
Ulysses sail'd, then beauty was no more ! 
The gods decreed these eyes no more should keep 
Their wonted grace, but only serve to weep. 
Should he return, whate'er my beauties prove, 
My virtues last ; my brightest charm is love. 
Now, grief, thou all art mine ! the gods o'ercast 
My soul with woes, that long, ah long must last! 
Too faithfully my heart retains the day 
% That sadly tore my royal lord away : 

He grasp'd my hand, and, ' O my spouse! I leave 
Thy arms (he cried), perhaps to find a grave: 
Fame speaks the Trojans bold ; they boast the skill 
To give the feather'd arrow wings to kill, 



260 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVIII. 

To dart the spear, and guide the rushing car 

With dreadful inroad through the walks of war. 

My sentence is gone forth, and 'tis decreed 

Perhaps by righteous Heaven that I must bleed ! 

My father, mother, all I trust to thee; 

To them, to them, transfer the love of me: 

But, when my son grows man, the royal sway 

Resign, and happy be thy bridal day ! ' 

Such were his words; and Hymen now prepares 

To light his torch, and give me up to cares ; 

The afflictive hand of wrathful Jove to bear : 

A wretch the most complete that breathes the air! 

Fall'n e'en below the rights to woman .due ! 

Careless to please, with insolence ye woo ! 

The generous lovers, studious to succeed, 

Bid their whole herds and flocks in banquets bleed 

By precious gifts the vow sincere display : 

You, only you, make her ye love your prey." 

Well-pleased Ulvsses hears his queen deceive 
The suitor-train, and raise a thirst to give : 
False hopes she kindles, but those hopes betray, 
And promise, yet elude, the bridal day. 

While yet she speaks, the gay Antinoiis cries : 
" Offspring of kings, and more than woman wise! 
'Tis right; 'tis man's prerogative to give, 
And custom bids thee without shame receive ; 
Yet never, never, from thy dome we move. 
Till Hymen lights the torch of spousal love." 

The peers despatch'd their heralds to convey 
The gifts of love ; with speed they take the way, 
A robe Antinoiis gives of shining dyes, 
The varying hues in gay confusion rise 
Rich from the artist's hand ! Twelve clasps of gold 
Close to the lessening waist the vest infold ! 
Down from the swelling loins the vest unbound 
Floats in bright waves redundant o'er the ground 
A bracelet rich with gold, with amber gay, 
That shot effulgence like the solar ray, 
Eurymachus presents : and ear-rings bright, 
With triple stars, that cast a trembling light. 
Pisander bears a necklace wrought with art : 
And every peer, expressive of his heart, 
A gift bestows: this done, the queen ascends, 

And slow behind her damsel train attends. 

Then to the dance they form the vocal strain 
Till Hesperus leads forth the starry train; 
And now he raises, as the daylight fades, 



BOOK XVIIL] THE ODYSSEY. 261 

His golden circlet in the deepening shades : 
Three vases heap'd with copious fires display 
O'er all the palace a fictitious day; 
From space to space the torch wide-beaming burns, 
And sprightly damsels trim the rays by turns. 

To whom the king: " 111 suits your sex to stay 
Alone with men ! ye modest maids, away ! 
Go, with the queen ; the spindle guide ; 'or cull 
(The partners of her cares) the silver wool; 
Be it my task the torches to supply 
E'en till the morning lamp adorns the sky ; 
E'en till the morning, with unwearied care, 
Sleepless I watch ; for I have learn'd to bear." 

Scornful they heard : Melantho, fair and young, 
(Melantho, from the loins of Dolius sprung, 
Who with the queen her years an infant led, 
With the soft fondness of a daughter bred,) 
Chiefly derides : regardless of the cares 
Her queen endures, polluted joys she shares 
Nocturnal with Eurymachus : with eyes 
That speak disdain, the wanton thus replies : 
"Oh! whither wanders thy distemper'd brain, 
Thou bold intruder on a princely train ? 
Hence, to the vagrants' rendezvous repair; 
Or shun in some black forge the midnight air. 
Proceeds this boldness from a turn of soul, 
Or flows licentious from the copious bowl ? 
Is it that vanquish'd Irus swells thy mind ? 
A foe may meet thee of a braver kind, 
Who, shortening with a storm of blows thy stay, 
Shall send thee howling all in blood away! " 

To whom with frowns : " O impudent in wrong ! 
Thy lord shull curb that insolence of tongue ; 
Know, to Telemachus I tell the offence; 
The scourge, the scourge shall lash thee into sense. 

With conscious shame they hear the stern rebuke, 
Nor longer durst sustain the sovereign look. 

Then to the servile task the monarch turns 
His royal hands : each torch refulgent burns 
With added day : meanwhile in museful mood, 
Absorb'd in thought, on vengeance fix'd he sto 
And now the martial maid, by deeper wrongs 
To rouse Ulysses, points the suitors' tongues: 
Scornful of age, to taunt the virtuous man, 
Thoughtless and gay, Eurymachus began : 

" Hear me (he cries), confederates and friends ! 
Some god, no doubt, this stranger kindly sends ; 



262 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XVIII. 

The shining baldness of his head survey, 
It aids our torchlight, and reflects the ray." 

Then to the king that levell'd haughty Troy 
" Say, if large hire can tempt thee to employ 
Those hands in work ; to tend the rural trade, 
To dress the walk, and form the embowering shade. 
So food and raiment constant will I give : 
But idly thus thy soul prefers to live, 
And starve by strolling, not by work to thrive." 

To whom incensed : "Should we, O prince, engage 
In rival tasks beneath the burning rage 
Of summer suns; were both constrain'd to wield 
Foodless the scythe along the burden'd field ; 
Or should we labor while the ploughshare wounds, 
With steers of equal strength, the allotted grounds : 
Beneath my labors, how thy wondering eyes 
Might see the sable field at once arise ! 
Should Jove dire war unloose, with spear and shield, 
And nodding helm, I tread the ensanguined field, 
Fierce in the van : then wouldst thou, wouldst thou, 

say, 

Misname me glutton, in that glorious day ? 
No, thy ill-judging thoughts the brave disgrace : 
'Tis thou injurious art, not I am base. 
Proud to seem brave among a coward train ! 
But now, thou art not valorous, but vain. 
God ! should the stern Ulysses rise in might, 
These gates would seem too narrow for thy flight." 

While yet he speaks, Eurymachus replies, 
With indignation flashing from his eyes : 

" Slave, I with justice might deserve the wrong, 
Should I not punish that opprobrious tongue. 
Irreverent to the great, and uncontrolFd, 
Art thou from wine, or innate folly, bold ? 
Perhaps these outrages from Irus flow, 
A worthless triumph o'er a worthless foe ! " 

He said, and with full force a footstool threw 
Whirl'd from his arm, with erring rage it flew : 
Ulysses, cautious of the vengeful foe. 
Stoops to the ground, and disappoints the blow. 
Not so a youth, who deals the goblet round, 
Full on his shoulder it inflicts a wound : 
Dash'd from his hand the sounding goblet flies, 
He shrieks, he reels, he falls, and breathless lies. 
Then wild uproar and clamor mount the sky, 
Till mutual thus the peers indignant cry : 
" Oh had this stranger sunk to realms beneath, 



BooKXVIIL] THE ODYSSEY. 263 

To the black realms of darkness and of death, 
Ere yet he trod these shores ! to strife he draws 
Peer against peer ; and what the weighty cause? 
A vagabond ! for him the great destroy, 
In vile ignoble jars, the feast of joy." 

To whom the stern Telemachus uprose : 
" Gods ! what wild folly from the goblet flows ! 
Whence this unguarded openness of soul, 
But from the license of the copious bowl ? 
Or Heaven delusion sends : but hence away ! 
Force I forbear, and without force obey." 

Silent, abash'd, they hear the stern rebuke, 
Till thus Amphinomus the silence broke : 

" True are his words, and he whom truth offends 
Not with Telemachus, but truth contends ; 
Let not the hand of violence invade 
The reverend stranger, or the spotless maid ; 
Retire we hence, but crown with rosy wine 
The flowing goblet to the powers divine ! 
Guard he his guest beneath whose roof he stands : 
This justice, this the social rite demands." 

The peers assent : the goblet Mulius crown'd 
With purple juice, and bore in order round : 
Each peer successive his libation pours 
To the blest gods who fill'd the ethereal bowers : 
Then swill'd with wine, with noise the crowds obey 
And rushing forth, tumultuous reel away. 



264 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIX. 



BOOK XIX. 

ARGUMENT 

THB DISCOVERY OF ULYSSBS TO KURVCLKA. 

Ulysses and his son remove the weapons out of the armory. Ulysses, in conversation 
with Penelope, gives a fictitious account of his adventures ; then assures her he 
had formerly entertained her husband in Crete ; and describes exactly his person 
and dress ; affirms to have heard of him in Phaeacia and Thesprotia, and that his 
return is certain, and within a month. He then goes to bathe, and is attended by 
Euryclea, who discovers him to be Ulysses by the scar upon his leg, which he 
formerly received in limiting the wild boar on Parnassus. The poet inserts a 
digression relating that accident, with ail its particulars. 

CONSULTING secret with the blue-eyed maid, 
Still in the dome divine Ulysses stay'd : 
Revenge mature for act inflamed his" breast; 
And thus the son the fervent sire address'd : 

Instant convey those steely stores of war 
To distant rooms, disposed with secret care : 
The cause demanded by the suitor-train, 
To soothe their fears, a specious reason feign : 
Say, since Ulysses left his natal coast, 
Obscene with smoke, their beamy lustre lost, 
His arms deform the roof thev wont adorn : 
From the glad walls inglorious lumber torn. 
Suggest, that Jove the peaceful thought inspired, 
Lest they, by sight of swords to fury fired, 
Dishonest wounds, or violence of soul, 
Defame the bridal feast and friendly bowl." 

The prince, obedient to the sage command, 
To Euryclea thus : " The female band 
In their apartments keep; secure the doors; 
These swarthy arms among the covert stores 
Are seemlier hid ; my thoughtless youth they blame, 
Imbrown'd with vapor of the smouldering flame." 

" In happier hour (pleased Euryclea cries), 
Tutor'd by early woes, grow early wise ; 
Inspect with sharpen'd sight, and frugal care, 
Your patrimonial wealth, a prudent heir. 
But who the lighted taper will provide 
(The female train retired) your toils to guide ? ' 



BOOK XIX.] THE ODYSSEY. 265 

"Without infringing hospitable right, 
This guest (he cried) shall shall bear the guiding light : 
I cheer no lazy vagrants with repast ; 
They share the meal that earn it ere they taste." 

He said : from female ken she straight secures 
The purposed deed, and guards the bolted doors : 
Auxiliar to his son, Ulysses bears 
The plumy-crested helms and pointed spears, 
With shields indented deep in glorious wars. 
Minerva viewless on her charge attends, 
And with her golden lamp his toil befriends. 
Not such the sickly beams, which unsincere 
Gild the gross vapor of this nether sphere ! 
A present deity the prince confess'd, 
And wrapp'd with ecstasy the sire address'd : 

"What miracle thus dazzles with surprise ! 
Distinct in rows the radiant columns rise ; 
The walls, where'er my wondering sight I turn, 
And roofs, amidst a blaze of glory burn ! 
Some visitant of pure ethereal race 
With his bright presence deigns the dome to grace." 

" Be calm (replies the sire) ; to none impart, 
But oft revolve the vision in thy heart : 
Celestials, mantled in excess of light, 
Can visit unapproach'd by mortal sight. 
Seek thou repose : \\hilst here I sole remain, 
To explore the conduct of the female train : 
The pensive queen, perchance, desires to know 
The series of my toils, to soothe her woe." 

With tapers flaming day .his train attends, 
His bright alcove the obsequious youth ascends : 
Soft slumberous shades his drooping eyelids close, 
Till on her eastern throne Aurora glows. 

Whilst, forming plans of death, Ulysses stay'd, 
In counsel secret with the martial maid, 
Attendant nymphs in beauteous order wait 
The queen, descending from her bower of state. 
Her cheeks the warmer blush of Venus wear, 
Chasten'd with coy Diana's pensive air. 
An ivory seat with silver ringlets graced, 
Bv famed Icmalius wrought, "the menials placed: 
With ivory silver'd thick the footstool shone, 
O'er which the panther's various hide was thrown. 
The sovereign seat with graceful air she press'd ; 
To different tasks their toil the nymphs address'd 
The golden goblets some, and some restored 
From stains of luxury the polish'd board : 



266 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIX. 

These to remove the expiring embers came, 
While those with unctuous fir ioment the flame. 

'Twas then Melantho with imperious mien 
Renew'd the attack, incontinent of spleen : 
'' Avaunt (she cried), offensive to my sight ! 
Deem not in ambush here to lurk by night, 
Into the woman-state asquint to pry ; 
A day-devourer, and an evening spy ! 
Vagrant, begone ! before this blazing brand 
Shall urge " and waved it hissing in her hand. 

The insulted hero rolls his wrathful eyes. 
And "Why so turbulent of soul ? (he cries ;) 
Can these lean shrivell'd limbs, unnerved with age, 
These poor but honest rags, enkindle rage ? 
In crowds, we wear the badge of hungry fate : 
And beg, degraded from superior state ! 
Constrain'd a rent-charge on the rich I live ; 
Reduced to crave the good I once could give : 
A palace, wealth, and slaves, 1 late possess'd, 
And all that makes the great be call'd the bless'd : 
My gate, an emblem of my open soul, 
Embraced the poor, and d'ealt a bounteous dole. 
Scorn not the sad reverse, injurious maid ! 
'Tis Jove's high will, and be his will obey'd ! 
Nor think thyself exempt : that rosy prime 
Must share the general doom of withering time : 
To some new channel soon the changeful tide 
Of royal grace the offended queen may guide ; 
And her loved lord unplume thy towering pride. 
Or, were he dead, 'tis wisdom to beware : 
Sweet blooms the prince beneath Apollo's care ; 
Your deeds with quick impartial eye surveys, 
Potent to punish what he cannot praise." 

Her keen reproach had reach'd the sovereign's ear 
"Loquacious insolent! (she cries,) forbear ; 
To thee the purpose of my soul I told ; 
Venial discourse, unblamed, with him to hold ; 
The storied labors of my wandering lord, 
To soothe my grief he haply may rea rd : 
Yet him, my guest, thy venom'd rage hath stung; 
Thy head shall pay the forfeit of thy tongue ! 
But thou on whom my palace-cares depend, 
Eurynome, regard the stranger-friend : 
A seat, soft spread with furry spoils, prepare : 
Due-distant for us both to speak, and hear." 

The menial fair obeys with duteous haste : 
A seat adorn'd with furry spoils she placed : 



BOOK XIX.] THE ODYSSEY. 267 

Due-distant for discourse the hero sate ; 
When thus the sovereign from her chair of state : 
" Reveal, obsequious to my first demand, 
Thy name, thy lineage, and thy natal land." 

He thus : ' O queen ! whose far-resounding fame 
Is bounded 'only by the starry frame, 
Consummate pattern of imperial sway, 
Whose pious rule a warlike race obey ! 
In wavy gold thy summer vales are dress'd ; 
Thy autumns bend with copious fruit oppress'd : 
With flocks and herds each grassy plain is stored; 
And fish of every fin thy seas afford : 
Their affluent joys the grateful realms confess ; 
And bless the power that still delights to bless, 
Gracious permit this prayer, imperial dame ! 
Forbear to know mv lineage, or my name : 
Urge not this breast to heave, these eyes to weep ; 
In sweet oblivion let my sorrows sleep ! 
My woes awaked will violate, your ear, 
And to this gay censorious train appear 
A.whiny vapor melting; in at'jar." 

" Their gifts the gods resumed (the queen rejoin'd) 
Exterior grace, and energy of mind, 
When the dear partner of my nuptial joy, 
Auxiliar troops combined, to conquer Troy. 
My lord's protecting hand alone would raise 
My drooping verdure, and extend my praise ! 
Peers from the distant Samian shore resort : 
Here with Dulichians join'd, besiege the court: 
Zacynthus, green with ever-shady groves, 
And Ithaca presumptuous boast their loves : 
Obtruding on my choice a second lord, 
They press the Hvmenaean rite abhorr'd. 
Misrule thus ming'ling with domestic cares, 
I live regardless of my state affairs : 
Receive no stranger-guest, no poor relieve; 
But ever for my lord in secret grieve ! 
This art, instinct by some celestial power, 
1 tried, elusive of the bridal hour: 

" ' Ye peers (I cry), who press to gain a heart, 
Where dead Ulysses claims no future part; 
Rebate your loves, each rival suit suspend, 
Till this funereal web my labors end : 
Cease, till to good Laertes I bequeath 
A pall of state, the ornament of death. 
For when to fate he bows, each Grecian dame 
With just reproach were licensed to defame, 



268 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XIX. 

Should he, long honor'd in supreme command, 
Want the last duties of a daughter's hand.' 
The fiction pleased ; their loves I long elude ; 
The night still ravell'd what the day renew'd : 
Three years successful in my heart conceal'd, 
My ineffectual fraud the fourth reveal'd : * 
Befriended by my own domestic spies, 
The woof unwrought the suitor-train surprise. 
From nuptial rites they now no more recede, 
And fear forbids to falsify the brede. 
My anxious_parents urge a speedy choice, 
And to their suffrage gain the filial voice. 
For rule mature, Telemachus deplores 
His dome dishonor'd, and exhausted stores 
But, stranger ! as thy days seem full of fate, 
Divide discourse, in turn thy birth relate : 
Thy port asserts thee of distinguish'd race ; 
Nor poor unfather'd product of disgrace." 

"Princess ! (he cries,) renew'd by your command, 
The dear remembrance of my native land 
Of secret grief unseals the fruitful source : 
Fond tears repeat their long-forgotten course ! 
So pays the wretch whom fate constrains to roam, 
The dues of nature to his natal home ! 
But inward on my soul let sorrow prey, 
Your sovereign will my dutv bids obey. 

" Crete awes the circling'waves, a fruitful soil ? 
And ninety cities crown the sea-born isle : 
Mix'd with her genuine sons, adopted names 
In various tongues avow their various claims : 
Cydonians, dreadful with the bended yew, 
And bold Pelasgi boast a native's due : 
The Dorians, plumed amid the files of war, 
Her foodful glebe with fierce Achaians share; 
Cnossus, her capital of high command ; 
Where sceptred Minos with impartial hand 
Divided right ; each ninth revolving year, 
By Jove received in council to confer. 
His son Deucalion bore successive sway; 
His son, who gave me first to view the day 
The royal bed an elder issue bless'd, 
Idomeneus, whom Ilion fields attest 
Of matchless deeds : untrain'd to martial toil, 
I lived inglorious in my native isle. 
Studious of peace, and Athon is my name. 
'Twas then to Crete the great Ulysses came : 
For elemental war, and wintry Jove, 



BOOK XIX.] THE ODYSSEY. 269 

From Malea's gusty cape his navy drove 
To bright Lucina's fane ; the shelfy coast 
Where loud Amnisus in the deep is lost. 
His vessels nioor'd (an incommodious port !) 
The hero speeded to the Cnossian court : 
Ardent the partner of his arms to find, 
In leagues of long commutual friendship join'd. 
Vain hope ! ten suns had warm'd the western stra 
Since my brave brother, with his Cretan band, 
Had sail'd for Troy : but to the genial feast 
My honor'd roof received the royal guest : 
Beeves for his train the Cnossian peers assign, 
A public treat, with jars of generous wine. 
Twelve days while Boreas vex'd the aerial space, 
My hospitable dome he deign'd to grace : 
And when the north had ceased the stormy roar, 
He wing'd his voyage to the Phrygian shore." 

Thus the fam'd' hero, perfected in wiles, 
With fair similitude of truth beguiles 
The queen's attentive ear: dissolved in woe, 
From her bright eyes the tears unbounded flow. 
As snows collected on the mountain freeze ; 
When milder regions breathe a venial breeze, 
The fleecy pile obeys the whispering gales, 
Ends in a stream, and murmurs through the vales : 
So, melting with the pleasing tale he told, 
Down her fair cheek the copious torrent roll'd ; 
She to her present lord laments him lost, 
And views that object which she wants the most! 
Withering at heart to see the weeping fair, 
His eyes look stern, and cast a gloomy stare ; 
Of horn the stiff relentless balls appear, 
Or globes of iron fix'd in either sphere ; 
Firm wisdom interdicts the softening tear. 
A speechless interval of grief ensues, 
Till thus the queen the tender theme renews: 

" Stranger ! that e'er thy hospitable roof 
Ulysses graced, confirm by faithful proof; 
Delineate to my vieV my warlike lord, 
His form, his habit, and his train record." 

" 'Tis hard (he cries), to bring to sudden sight 
Ideas that have wing'd their distant flight ; 
Rare on the mind those images are traced, 
Whose footsteps twenty winters have defaced : 
But wTiat I can, receive. In ample mode, 
A robe of military purple flow'd 
O'er all his frame : illustrious on his breast, 



270 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIX. 

The double clasping gold the king confess'd. 

In the rich woof a hound, mosaic drawn, 

Bore on full stretch, and seized a dappled fawn : 

Deep in the neck his fangs indent their hold ; 

They pant and struggle in the moving gold. 

Fine as a filmy web beneath it shone 

A vest, that dazzled like a cloudless sun : 

The female train who round him throng'd to gaze, 

In silent wonder sigh'd unwilling praise. 

A sabre, when the warrior press'd to part, 

I gave, enamell'd witli Vulcanian art : 

A mantle purple-tinged, and radiant vest, 

Ditnension'd equal to his size, express'd 

Affection grateful to my honor'd guest. 

A favorite herald in his train I knew, 

His visage solemn, sad, of sable hue : 

Short woolly curls o'erfleeced his bending head, 

O'er which a promontory shoulder spread ; 

Eurybates; in whose large soul alone 

Ulysses view'd an image of his own." 

His speech the tempest of her grief restored; 
In all he told she recognized her lord : 

But when the storm was spent in plenteous showers, 
A pause inspiriting her languish'd powers, 
"O thou (she cried), whom first inclement Fate 
Made welcome to my hospitable gate ; 
With all thy wants the name of poor shall end : 
Henceforth live honor'd, my domestic friend ! 
The vest much envied on our native coast, 
And regal robe with figured gold emboss'd, 
In happier hours my artful hand employ'd, 
When my loved lord this blissful bovver enjoy'd: 
The fall of Troy erroneous and forlorn 
Doom'd to survive, and never to return ! " 

Then he, with pity touch'd : " O royal dame ! 
Your ever-anxious mind, and beauteous frame, 
From the devouring rage of grief reclaim. 
I not the fondness of your soul reprove 
For such a lord ! who crown'd your virgin love 
With the dear blessing of a fair increase; 
Himself adorned with more than mortal grace : 
Yet while I speak the mighty woe suspend; 
Truth forms my tale ; to pleasing truth attend. 
The royal object of your dearest care 
Breathes in no distant clime the vital air : 
In rich Thesprotia, and the nearer bound 
Of Thessaly, his name I heard renown'd : 



BOOK XIX.] THE ODYSSEY. 



Without retinue, to that friendly shore 
Welcomed with gifts of price, a sumless store ! 
His sacrilegious train, who dared to prey 
On herds devoted to the god of day, 
Were doom'd by Jove, and Phoebus' just decree, 
To perish in the rough Trinacrian sea. 
To better fate the blameless chief ordain'd, 
A floating fragment of the wreck regain'd, 
And rode the storm; till, by the billows toss'd, 
He landed on the fair Phaeacian coast. 
That race, who emulate the life of gods, 
Receive him joyous to their bless'd abodes : 
Large gifts confer, a ready sail command, 
To speed his voyage to the Grecian strand. 
But your wise lord (in whose capacious soul 
High schemes of power in just succession roll) 
His Ithaca refused from favoring Fate, 
Till copious wealth might guard his regal state. 
Phedon the fact affirm'd, whose sovereign sway 
Thesprotian tribes, a duteous race, obey: 
And bade the gods this' added truth attest 
(While pure libations cro\vn'd the genial feast), 
That anchor'd in his port the vessels stand, 
To waft the hero to his natal land. 
I for Dulichium urge the watery way, 
But first the Ulyssean wealth survey : 
So rich the value of a store so vast 
Demands the pomp of centuries to waste ! 
The darling object of your royal love 
Was journey'd thence to Dodonean Jove; 
By the sure precept of the sylvan shrine, . 
To form the conduct of his great design : 
Irresolute of soul, his state to shroud 
In dark disguise, or come, a king avow'd ! 
Thus lives your lord ; no longer doom'd to roam 
Soon will he grace this dear paternal dome. 
By Jove, the source of good, supreme in power ! 
By the bless'd genius of this friendly bower ! 
I ratify my speech, before the sun 
His annual longitude of heaven shall run ; 
When the pale empress of yon starry train 
In the next month renews her faded wane, 
Ulysses will assert his rightful reign." 

" What thanks ! what boon ! (replied the queen) are due, 
When time shall prove the storied blessings true ! 
My lord's return should fate no more retard, 
Envy shall sicken at thy vast reward. 



272 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIX. 

But by prophetic fears, alas ! presage 
The wounds of Destiny's relentless rage. 
I long must weep, nor will Ulysses come, 
With royal gifts to send you honor'd home ! 
Your other task, ye menial train, forbear: 
Now wash the stranger, and the bed prepare ; 
With splendid palls the downy fleece adorn : 
Uprising early with the purple morn, 
His sinews, shrunk with age, and stiff with toil, 
In the warm bath foment with fragrant oil. 
Then with Telemachus the social feast 
Partaking free, my sole invited guest ; 
Whoe'er neglects to pay distinction due, 
The breach of hospitable right may rue. 
The vulgar of my sex I most exceed 
In real fame, when most humane my deed ; 
And vainly to the praise of queen aspire, 
If, stranger ! I permit that mean attire 
Beneath the feastful bower. A narrow space 
Confines the circle of our destined race ; 
'Tis ours with good the scanty round to grace. 
Those who to cruel wrong their state abuse, 
Dreaded in life, the mutter'd curse pursues ; 
By death disrobed of all their savage powers, 
Then, licensed rage her hateful prey devours. 
But he whose inborn worth his acts commend, 
Of gentle soul, to human race a friend ; 
The wretched, he relieves diffuse his fame, 
And distant tongues extol the patron name." 

" Princess ! (he cried) in vain your bounties flow 
On me, confirm'd and obstinate in woe. 
When my loved Crete received my final view, 
And from my weeping eyes her cliffs withdrew; 
These tatter'd weeds (my decent robe resign'd) 
I chose, the livery of a woeful mind ! 
Nor will my heart-corroding care abate 
With splendid palls, and canopies of state : 
Low-couch'd on earth, the gift of sleep I scorn, 
And catch the glances of the waking morn. 
The delicacy of your courtly train 
To wash a wretched wanderer would disdain ; 
But if, in tract of long experience tried, 
And sad similitude of woes allied, 
Some wretch reluctant views aerial light, 
To her mean hand assign the friendly rite." 

Pleased with his wise reply, the queen rejoin'd 
"Such gentle manners, and so sage a mind, 



BOOK XIX.l THE ODYSSEY. 273 

In all who graced this hospitable bower 
I ne'er discerned, before this social hour. 
Such servant as your humble choice requires 
To light received the lord of my desires, 
New from the birth ; and with a mother's hand 
His tender bloom to manly growth sustain'd : 
Of matchless prudence, and a duteous mind : 
Though now to life's extremest verge declined, 
Of strength superior to the toil design'd 
Rise, Euryclea ! with officious care 
For the poor friend the cleansing bath prepare : 
This debt his correspondent fortunes claim, 
Too like Ulysses, and perhaps the same ! 
Thus old with woes my fancy paints him now ! 
For age untimely marks the careful brow." 

Instant, obsequious to the mild command, 
Sad Euryclea rose : with trembling hand 
She veils the torrent of her tearful eyes ; 
And thus impassion'd to herself replies: 

" Son of my love, and monarch of my cares ! 
What pangs for thee this wretched bosom bears 
Are thus by Jove who constant beg his aid 
With pious deed, and pure devotion, paid ? 
He never dared defraud the sacred fane 
Of perfect hecatombs in order slain : 
There oft implored his tutelary power, 
Long to protract the sad sepulchral hour ; 
That, form'd for empire with paternal care, 
His realm might recognize an equal heir. 
O destined head ! The pious vows are lost; 
His god forgets him on a foreign coast ! 
Perhaps, like thee, poor guest ! in wanton pride 
The rich insult him, and the young deride! 
Conscious of worth reviled, thy generous mind 
Thy friendly rite of purity declined ; 
My will concurring with my queen's command, 
Accept the bath from this obsequious hand. 
A strong emotion shakes my anguish'd breast 
In thy whole form Ulysses seems express'd : 
Of all the wretched harbor'd on our coast, 
None imag'd e'er like thee my master lost." 

Thus half-discover'd through the dark disguise, 
With cool composure feign'd, the chief replies : 
"You join your suffrage to the public vote : 
The same you think have all beholders thought.' 

He sai.l: replenish'd from the purest springs, 
The laver straight with busy care she brings : 
18 



274 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIX. 



In the deep vase, that shone like burnish'd gold, 
The boiling fluid temperates the cold. 
Meantime revolving in his thoughtful mind 
The scar, with which his manly knee was sign'd ; 
His face averting from the crackling blaze, 
His shoulders intercept the unfriendly rays: 
Thus cautious in the obscure he hoped to fly 
The curious search of Euryclea's eye. 
Cautious in vain ! nor ceased the dame to find 
The scar with which his manly knee was sign'd. 

This on Parnassus (combatting the boar) 
With glancing rage the tusky savage tore. 
Attended by his brave maternal race, 
His grandsire sent him to the sylvan chase, 
Autolycus the bold (a mighty name 
For spotless faith and deeds of martial fame : 
Hermes, his patron god, those gifts bestow'd, 
Whose shrine with weanling Iambs he wont to load). 
His course to Ithaca this hero sped, 
When the first product of L ae'rtes' bed 
Was now disclosed to birth : the banquet ends, 
When Euryclea from the queen descends, 
And to his fond embrace the babe commends : 
" Receive (she cries). your royal daughter's son; 
And name the blessing that your prayers have won." 
Then thus the hoary chief: "My victor arms 
Have awed the realms around with dire alarms 
A sure memorial of my dreaded fame 
The boy shall bear; Ulysses be his name ! 
And when with filial love the youth shall come 
To view his mother's soil, my Delphic dome 
With gifts of price shall send him joyous home." 
Lured with the promised boon, when youthful prime 
Ended in man, his mother's natal clime 
Ulysses sought; with fond affection dear 
Amphithea's arms received the royal heir : 
Her ancient lord * an equal joy possess'd ; 
Instant he bade prepare the genial feast: 
A steer to form the sumptuous banquet bled, 
Whose stately growth five flowery summers fed; 
His sons divide, and roast with artful care 
The limbs ; then all the tasteful viands share. 
Nor cease discourse (the banquet of the soul), 
Till Phoebus wheeling to the western goal 
Resign'd the skies, and night involved the pole. 

* Autolycus. 



BOOK XIX. J THE ODYSSEY. 275 

Their drooping eyes the slumberous shade oppress'd, 
Sated they rose, and all retired to rest. 

Soon as the morn, new-robed in purple light, 
Pierced with her golden shafts the rear of night, 
Ulysses, and his brave maternal race, 
The young Autolyci, essay the chase. 
Parnassus, thick perplex'd with horrid shades, 
With deep-mouth'd hounds the hunter-troop invades ; 
What time the sun, from ocean's peaceful stream, 
Darts o'er the lawn his horizontal beam. 
The pack impatient snuff the tainted gale ; 
The thorny wilds the woodmen fierce assail : 
And, foremost of the train, his cornel spear 
Ulysses waved, to rouse the savage war. 
Deep in the rough recesses of the wood, 
A lofty copse, the growth of ages, stood ; 
Nor winter's boreal blast, nor thunderous shower, 
Nor solar ray, could pierce the shady bower. 
With wither'd foliage strew'd, a heapy store ! 
The warm pavilion of a dreadful boar. 
Roused by the hounds' and hunters' mingling cries. 
The savage from his leafy shelter flies ; 
With fiery glare his sanguine eye-balls shine, 
And bristles high impale his horrid chine. 
Young Ithacus advanced, defies the foe, 
Poising his lifted lance in act to throw; 
The savage renders vain the wound decreed, 
And springs impetuous with opponent speed ! 
His tusks oblique he aim'd, the knee to gore; 
Aslope they glanced, Aic sinewy fibres tore, 
And bared the bone ; Ulysses undismay'd, 
Soon with redoubled force the wound repaid ; 
To the right shoulder-joint the spear applied, 
His further flank with streaming purple dyed : 
On earth he rush'd with agonizing pain ; 
With joy and vast surprise, the applauding train 
Vievv'd his enormous bulk extended on the plain. 
With bandage firm Ulvsses' knee they bound ; 
Then, chanting mystic lays, the closing wound 
Of sacred melody confessed the force ; 
The tides of life regain'cl their azure course. 
Then back they led the youth with loud acclaim: 
Autolycus, enamored with his fame, 
Confirm'd the cure ; and from the delphic dome 
With added gifts return'd him glorious home. 
He safe at Ithaca with joy received, 
Relates the chase, and early praise achieved 



276 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIX. 

Deep o'er his knee inseam'd remain'd the scar- 
Which noted token of the woodland war 
When Euryclea found, the ablution ceased : 
Down dropp'd the leg, from her slack hand released; 
The mingled fluids from the base redound : 
The vase reclining floats the floor around ! 
Smiles dew'd with tears the pleasing strife express'd 
Of grief and joy, alternate in her breast. 
Her fluttering words in melting murmurs died ; 
At length abrupt" My son ! my king ! "she cried. 
His neck with fond embrace infolding fast, 
Full on the queen her raptured eye she cast. 
Ardent to speak the monarch safe restored : 
But, studious to conceal her royal lord, 
Minerva fix'd her mind on views remote, 
And from the present bliss abstracts her thought. 
His hand to Euryclea's mouth applied, 
" Art thou foredoom'd my pest t^the hero cried :) 
Thy milky founts my infant lips have drain'd : 
And have the Fates thy babbling age ordain'd 
To violate the life thy youth su.stain'd ? 
An exile have I told, with weeping eyes, 
Full twenty annual suns .in distant skies : 
At length return'd, some god inspires thy breast 
To know thy king, and here I stand confess'd. 
This heaven-discover'd truth to thee consign'd, 
Reserve the treasure of thy inmost mind : 
Else, if the gods my vengeful arm sustain. 
And prostrate to my sword the suitor-train ; 
With their lewd mates, thy undistinguish'd age 
Shall bleed a victim to vindictive rage." 

Then thus rejoin'd the dame, devoid of fear : 
" What words, my son, have pass'd thy lips severe 
Deep in my soul the trust shall lodge secured ; 
With ribs of steel, and marble heart, immured. 
When Heaven, auspicious to thy right avow'd, 
Shall prostrate to thy sword the suitor-crowd, 
The deeds I'll blazon of the menial fair; 
The lewd to death devote, the virtuous spare." 

" Thy aid avails me not (the chief replied) ; 
My own experience shall their doom decide: 
A witness-judge precludes a long appeal : 
Suffice it then thy monarch to conceal." 

He said : obsequious, with redoubled pace, 
She to the fount conveys the exhausted vase : 
The bath renew'd, she ends the pleasing toil 
With plenteous unction of ambrosial oil. 



BOOK XIX.] THE ODYSSEY. 277 

Adjusting to his limbs the tatter'd vest, 
His former seat received the stranger guest ; 
Whom thus with pensive air the queen address'd . 

" Though night, dissolving grief in grateful ease, 
Your drooping eyes with soft oppression seize ; 
Awhile, reluctant to her pleasing force, 
Suspend the restful hour with sweet discourse. 
The day (ne'er brightened with a beam of joy !) 
My menials, and domestic cares employ : 
And, unattended by sincere repose, 
The night assists my ever-wakeful woes ; 
When nature's hush'd beneath her brooding shade, 
My echoing griefs the starry vault invade. 
As when the months are clad in flowery green, 
Sad Philomel, in bowery shades unseen, 
To vernal airs attunes her varied strains ; 
And Itylus sounds warbling o'er the plains ; 
Young Itylus, his parent's darling joy ! 
Whom chance misled the mother to destroy; 
Now doom'd a wakeful bird to wail the beauteous boy. 
So in nocturnal solitude forlorn, 
A sad variety of woes I mourn ! 
My mind, reflective, in a thorny maze 
Devious from care to care incessant strays. 
Now, wavering doubt succeeds to long despair ; 
Shall I my virgin nuptial vow revere ; 
And, joining to my son's my menial train, 
Partake his counsels, and assist his reign ? 
Or, since, mature in manhood, he deplores 
His dome dishonor'd, and exhausted stores; 
Shall I, reluctant! to his will accord : 
And from the peers select the noblest lord ; 
So by my choice avow'd, at length decide 
These wasteful love-debates, a mourning bride ? 
A visionary thought I'll now relate; 
Illustrate, if you know, the shadow'd fate : 

"A team of twenty geese (a snow-white train!) 
Fed near the limpid lake with golden grain, 
Amuse my pensive hours. The bird of Jove 
Fierce from his mountain-eyrie downward drove ; 
Each favorite fowl he pounced with deathful sway 
And back triumphant wing'd his airy way. 
My pitying eyes effused a plenteous stream, 
To view their death thus imaged in a dream : 
With tender sympathy to soothe my soul, 
A troop of matrons, fancy-form'd, condole. 
But whilst with grief and rage my bosom burn'd, 



278 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XIX. 

Sudden the tyrant of the skies return'd : 
Perch'd on the battlements he thus began 
(In form an eagle, but in voice a man) : 
' O queen ! no vulgar vision of the sky 
I come, prophetic of approaching joy: 
View in this plumy form thy victor-lord ; 
The geese (a glutton race) by thee deplored, 
Portend the suitors fated to my sword.' 
This said, the pleasing feather'd omen ceased. 
When from the downy bands of sleep released, 
Fast by the limpid lake my swan-like train 
I found, insatiate of the golden grain." 

" The vision self-explain'd (the chief replies) 
Sincere reveals the sanction of the skies : 
Ulysses speaks his own return decreed; 
And by his sword the suitors sure to bleed." 

" Hard is the task^and rare" (the queen rejoin'd), 
Impending destinies in dreams to find : . 
Immured within the silent bower of sleep, 
Two portals firm the various phantoms keep : 
Of ivory one ; whence flit, to mock the brain, 
Of winged lies a light fantastic train : 
The gate opposed pellucid valves adorn, 
And columns fair encased with polish'd horn: 
Where images of truth for passage wait, 
With visions manifest of future fate. 
Not to this troop, I fear, that phantom soar'd, 
Which spoke Ulysses to this realm restored : 
Delusive semblance ! but my remnant life 
Heaven shall determine in a gameful strife ; 
With that famed bow Ulysses taught to bend, 
For me the rival archers shall contend. 
As on the listed field he used to place 
Six beams, opposed to six in equal space : 
Elanced afar by his unerring art, 
Sure through six circlets flew the whizzing dart. 
So, when the sun restores the purple day, 
Their strength and skill the suitors shall assay : 
To him the spousal honor is decreed, 
Who through the rings directs the feather'd reed. 
Torn from these walls (where long the kinder powers 
With joy and pomp have wing'd my youthful hours ! ) 
On this 'poor breast no dawn of bliss shall beam ; 
The pleasure past supplies a copious theme 
For many a dreary thought, and many a doleful dream ! " 

" Propose the sportive lot (the chief replies), 
Nor dread to name yourself the bowyer's prize : 



BOOK XIX.] THE ODYSSEY. 279 



Ulysses will surprise the unfinish'd game, 
Avow'd, and falsify the suitors' claim." 

To whom with grace serene the queen rejoin'd: 
" In all thy speech what pleasing force I find ! 
O'er my suspended woe thy words prevail ; 
I part reluctant from the pleasing tale, 
But Heaven, that knows what all terrestrials need, 
Repose to-night, and toil to-dav decreed ; 
Grateful vicissitudes ! yet me withdrawn, 
Wakeful to weep and watch the tardy dawn 
Established use enjoins ; to rest and joy- 
Estranged, since dear Ulysses sail'd to Troy ! 
Meantime instructed is the menial tribe 
Your couch to fashion as yourself prescribe." 

Thus affable, her bower the queen ascends ; 
The sovereign step a beauteous train attends : 
There imaged to her soul Ulysses rose ; 
Down her pale cheek new-streaming sorrow flows : 
Till soft oblivious shade Minerva spread, 
And o'er her eyes ambrosial slumber shed. 



280 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XX. 



BOOK XX. 



ARGUMENT. 

While Ulysses lies in the vestibule of the palace, he is witness to the disorders of the 
women. Minerva comforts him, and casts him asleep. At his waking he desires 
a favorable sign from Jupiter, which is granted. The feast of Apollo is celebrated 
by the people, and the suitors banquet in the palace. Telemachus exerts his 
authority amongst them ; notwithstanding which, Ulysses is insulted by Ctesippus, 
and the rest continue in their excesses. Strange prodigies are seen by Theoc- 
lymenus, the augur, who explains them to the destruction of the wooers. 

AN ample hide divine Ulysses spread, 
And form'd of fleecy skins his humble bed 
(The remnants of the spoil the suitor-crowd 
In festival clevour'd, and victims vovv'd). 
Then o'er the chief, Eurynome the chaste 
With duteous care a downy carpet cast : 
With dire revenge his thoughtful bosom glows, 
And, ruminating wrath, he scorns repose. 
As thus pavilion'd in the porch he lay, 
Scenes of lewd loves his wakeful eyes survey, 
Whilst to nocturnal joys impure repair, 
With wanton glee, the prostituted fair. 
His heart with rage this new dishonor stung, 
Wavering his thoughts in dubious balance hung: 
Or instant should he quench the guilty flame 
With their own blood, and intercept the shame 
Or to their lust indulge a last embrace, 
And let the peers consummate the disgrace. 
Round his swoln heart the murmurous fury rolls, 
v As o'er her young the mother-mastiff growls, 

And bays the stranger groom : so wrath compress'd 

Recoiling, mutter'd thunder in "his breast. 

" Poor suffering heart ! (he cried,) support the pain 

Of wounded honor, and thy rage restrain. 

Not fiercer woes thy fortitude could foil, 

When the brave partners of thy ten years' toil 

Dire Polypheme devour'd ; I then was freed 

By patient prudence from the death decreed." 

Thus anchor'd safe on reason's peaceful coast, 
Tempests of wrath his soul no longer toss'd ; 



BOOK XX.] THE ODYSSEY. 281 

Restless his body rolls, to rage resign'd : 

As one who long with pale-eyed famine pined, 

The savory cates on glowing .embers cast 

Incessant turns, impatient for repast: 

Ulysses so, from side to side devolved, 

In self-debate the suitor's doom resolved: 

When in the form of mortal .nymph array'd, 

From heaven descends the Jove-born martial maid ; 

And hovering o'er his head in view confess'd, 

The goddess thus her favorite care address'd: 

" O thou, of mortals most inured to woes ! 
Why roll those eyes unfriended of repose ? 
Beneath thy palace-roof forget thy care ; 
Bless'd in thy queen ! bless'd in thy blooming heir! 
Whom, to the gods when suppliant fathers bow 
They name the standard of their dearest vow." 

"Just is thy kind reproach (the chief rejoin'd), 
Deeds full of fate distract my various mind, 
In contemplation wrapp'd. This hostile crew 
What single arm hath prowess to subdue? 
Or if, by Jove's and thy auxiliar aid, 
They're c'oonrd to bleed ; O say, celestial maid ? 
Where shall Ulysses shun, or how sustain 
Nations embattled to revenge the slain ? " 

" Oh impotence of faith ! (Minerva cries), 
If man on frail unknowing man relies, 
Doubt you the gods ? Lo, Pallas' self descends,* 

* Pallas' seTf. After detailing the various omens which had foreshadowed the 
death of the sir tors, Colonel Mure observes: 

" This whole train of allusions, in a great measure pointless if taken separately, 
assumes collectively an awful significance ?s concentrated around die fatality, that 
Ulysses was suddenly to destroy the suitors with the bow,* the sacred day of Apollo, 
the" god of archerv and of sudden destruction. The catastrophe was to take place af 
the moment when they were assembled to celebrate, with their characteristic levity rf 
demeanor, the festival of the pod, and while engaged in a trial of skill with the weapon 
which, sncred to him, was to deal death to themselves ; with the very weapon, too, of 
the man they were outraging, and who.e wife and plundered goods were the premised 
reward rf the victor. 

" What, however, it may be asked, has induced the genius, who conceived this 
grand poetical moral, to shroud it urder so enigmaiical a veil ? A sufficient answer to 
such questions mieht perhaps be, that we have no right to ask them- The following', 
however, suggests itself as a natural explanation of the mystery. The special ] at- 
roness of Ulysses was Pallas. She had been his guardian angel during the Trojan 
war, and had conducted him safe through the dangers of his late adventurous course. 
To her, therefore, the first, and ostensibly the sole credit was to remain of completirg 
the /work she had begun. Had the agency of Apollo been brought foi ward in the 
prominent form to which its importance mipht otherwise seem to entitle it, Minerva 
would have been eclipsed, or a multiplicity of divine interference have resulted, irju- 
rious to the harmony of the action. The influence, therefore, of the god of the bow, 
with its train of portentous contingencies, has been very properly kept in the back- 
ground of the picture. The few incidental touches by which it lias been shadowed 
forth speak home, through their very obscurity, with the greater force, to the minds 
of those who appreciate the true spirit of the poem." Vol. i. p. 385. 



282 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XX. 

Inspires thy counsels, and thy toils attends. 

In me affianced, fortify thy breast, 

Though myriads leagued thy rightful claim contest : 

My sure divinity shall hear the shield, 

And edge thy sword to reap the glorious field. 

Now, pay the debt to craving nature due, 

Her faded powers with balmy rest renew." 

She ceased, ambrosial slumbers seal his eyes ; 

His care dissolves in visionary joys: 

The goddess, pleased, regains her natal skies. 

Not so the queen ; the downy bands of sleep 
By grief relax'd, she waked again to weep : 
A gloomy pause ensued of dumb despair ; 
Then thus her fate invoked, with fervent prayer 

" Diana ! speed thy deathful ebon dart, 
And cure the pangs of this convulsive heart. 
Snatch me, ye whirlwinds ! far from human race, 
Toss'd through the void illimitable space : 
Or if dismounted from the rapid cloud, 
Me with his whelming wave let Ocean shroud ! 
So, Pandarus, thy hopes, three orphan-fair, 
Were doom'd to wander through the devious air; 
Thyself untimely, and thy consort died, 
But four celestials both your cares supplied. 
Venus in tender delicacy rears 
With honey, milk, and wine their infant years : 
Imperial Juno to their youth assigned 
A form majestic, and sagacious mind : 
With shapely growth Diana graced their bloom : 
And Pallas taught the texture of the loom. 
But whilst, to learn their lots in nuptial love, 
Bright Cytherea sought the bower of Jove 
(The God supreme, to whose eternal eye 
The registers of fate expanded lie) ; 
Wing'd Harpies snatch the unguarded charge away, 
And to the Furies bore a grateful prey. 
Be such my lot ! Or thou, Diana, speed 
Thy shaft, and send me joyful to the dead : 
To seek my lord among the warrior train, 
Ere second vows my bridal faith profane. 
When woes the waking sense alone assail, 
Whilst Night extends her soft oblivious veil, 
Of other wretches' care the torture ends : 
No truce the warfare of my heart suspends ! 
The night renews the day-distracting theme 
And airy terrors sable every dream. 
The last alone a kind illusion wrought, 



BOOK XX.] THE ODYSSEY. 283 

And to my bed my loved Ulysses brought, 
In manly bloom, and each majestic grace, 
As when for Troy he left my fond embrace ; 
Such raptures in my beating bosom rise, 
I deem it sure a vis'ion of the skies." 

Thus, whilst Aurora mounts her purple throne, 
In audible laments she breathes her moan ; 
The sounds assault Ulysses' wakeful ear : 
Misjudging of the cause, a sudden fear 
Of his arrival known, the chief- alarms ; 
He thinks the queen is rushing to his arms. 
Upspringing from his couch, with active haste 
The fleece and carpet in the dome he placed 
(The hide, without, imbibed the morning air ;) 
And thus the gods invoked with ardent prayer : 

"Jove, and eternal thrones ! with heaven to friend, 
If the long series of my woes shall end : 
Of human race now rising from repose, 
Let one a blissful omen here disclose ; 
And, to confirm my faith, propitious Jove ! 
Vouchsafe the sanction of a sign above." 

Whilst lowly thus the chief adoring bows, 
The pitying god his guardian aid avows. 
Loud from a sapphire sky his thunder sounds ; 
With springing hope the hero's heart rebounds. 
Soon, with consummate joy to crown his prayer, 
An omen'd voice invades his ravish'd ear. 
Beneath a pile that close the dome adjoin'd, 
Twelve female slaves the gift of Ceres grind ; 
Task'd for the royal board to bolt the bran 
From the pure flour (the growth and strength of man) : 
Discharging to the day the labor due, 
Now early to repose the rest withdrew ; 
One maid' unequal to the task assign'd, 
Still turn'd the toilsome mill with anxious mind; 
And thus in bitterness of soul divined : 

" Father of gods and men, whose thunders roll 
O'er the cerulean vault, and shake the pole : 
Whoe'er from Heaven has gain'd this rare ostent 
(Of granted vows a certain signal sent), 
In this blest moment of accepted prayer, 
Piteous, regard a wretch consumed w'ith care ! 
Instant, O Jove ! confound the suitor-train, 
For whom o'ertoil'd I grind the golden grain : 
Far from this dome the lewd devourers cast, 
And be this festival decreed their last !" 

Big with their doom denounced in earth and sky, 



284 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XX. 

Ulysses' heart dilates with secret joy. 
Meantime the menial train with unctuous wood 
Heap'd high the genial hearth, Vulcanian food : 
When, early dress'd, advanced the royal heir; 
With manly grasp he waved a martial spear ; 
A radiant sabre graced his purple zone, 
And on his foot the golden sandal shone. 
His steps impetuous to the portal press'd ; 
And Euryclea thus he there address'd : 

" Say thou to whom my youth its nurture owes, 
Was care for due reflection and repose 
Bestow'd the stranger-guest ? Or waits he grieved, 
His age not honor'd, nor his wants relieved ? 
Promiscuous grace on all the queen confers 
(In woes bewilder'd, oft the wisest errs). 
The wordy vagrant to the dole aspires, 
And modest worth wi-.li noble scorn retires." 

She thus : " O cease that ever-honor'd name 
To blemish now : it ill deserves your blame. 
A bowl of generous wine sufficed the guest ; 
In vain the queen the night refection press'd ; 
Nor would he court repose in downy state, 
Unbless'd, abandon'd to the rage of Fate! 
A hide beneath the portico was spread, 
And fleecy skins composed an humble bed : 
A downy carpet cast with duteous care, 
Secured him from the keen nocturnal air." 

His cornel javelin poised with regal port, 
To the sage Greeks convened in Themis' court, 
Forth-issuing from the dome the prince repair'd; 
Two dogs of chase, a lion-hearted guard, 
Behind him sourly stalk'd. Without delay 
The dame divides the labor of the day : 
Thus urging to the toil the menial train : 

" What marks of luxury the marble stain, 
Its wonted lustre let the floor regain ; 
The seats with purple clothe in order due; 
And let the abstersive sponge the board renew, 
Let some refresh the vase's sullied mould ; 
Some bid the goblets boast their native gold : 
Some to the spring, with each a jar, repair, 
And copious waters pure for bathing bear : 
Dispatch ! for soon the suitors will essay 
The lunar feast-rites to the god of clay." 

She said : with duteous haste a bevy fair 
Of twenty virgins to the spring repair ; 
With varied toils the rest adorn the dome. 



BOOK XX.] THE ODYSSEY. 285 

Magnificent, and blithe, the suitors come. 

Some wield the sounding axe ; the dodder'd oaks 

Divide, obedient to the forceful strokes. 

Soon from the fount, with each a brimming urn 

(Eumaeus in their train), the maids return. 

Three porkers for the feast, all brawny-chined, 

He brought; the choicest of the tusky kind : 

In lodgments first secure his care he viewed, 

Then to the king this friendly speech renew'd : 

" Now say sincere, my guest ! the suitor-train, 

Still treat thy worth with lordly dull disdain ; 

Or speaks their deed a bounteous mind humane ? " 

" Some pitying god (Ulysses sad replied) 
With vollied vengeance blast their towering pride ! 
No conscious blush, no sense of right, restrains 
The tides of lust that swell their boiling veins : 
From vice to vice their appetites are toss'd, 
All cheaply sated at another's cost ! " 

While thus the chief his woes indignant told, 
Melanthius, master of the bearded fold, 
The goodliest goats of all the royal herd 
Spontaneous to the suitors' feast preferr'd : 
Two grooms assistant bore the victims bound : 
With quavering cries the vaulted roof resound: 
And to the chief austere aloud began 
The wretch unfriendly to the race of man : 

" Here vagrant, still ? offensive to my lords ! 
Blows have more energy than airy words ; 
These arguments I'll use : nor conscious shame, 
Nor threats, thy bold intrusion will reclaim. 
On this high feast the meanest vulgar boast 
A plenteous board ! Hence ! seek another host!' 

Rejoinder to the churl the king disdain'd, 
But shook his head, and rising wrath restrain'd. 

From Cephanelia 'cross the surgy main 
Philaetius late arrived, a faithful swain. 
A steer ungrateful to the bull's embrace, 
And goats he brought, the pride of all their race ; 
Imported in a shallop not his own : 
The dome re-echoed to the mingled moan. 
Straight to the guardian of the bristly kind 
He thus began, benevolent of mind : 

" What guest is he, of such majestic air ? 
His lineage and paternal clime declare : 
Dim through the eclipse of fate, the rays divine 
Of sovereign state with faded splendor shine. 
If monarchs by the gods are plunged in woe, 



286 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XX 

To what abyss are we foredoom'd to go ! " 
Then affable he thus the chief address'd, 
Whilst with pathetic warmth his hand he press'd 

" Stranger, may fate a milder aspect show, 
And spin thy future with a whiter clue ! 
O Jove ! forever deaf to human cries ; 
The tyrant, not the father of the skies ! 
Unpiteous of the race thy will began ! 
The fool of fate, thy manufacture, man, 
With penury, contempt, repulse, and care, 
The galling load of life is doom'd to bear. 
Ulysses from his state a wanderer still, 
Upbraids thy power, thy wisdom, or thy will ! 
O monarch ever dear ! O man of woe ! 
Fresh flow my tears, and shall forever flow ! 
Like thee, poor stranger guest, denied his home, 
Like thee, in rags obscene decreed to roam ! 
Or, haply perish'd on some distant coast, 
In Stygian gloom he glides, a pensive ghost ! 
Oh, grateful for the good his bounty gave, 
I'll grieve, till sorrow sink me to the grave ! 
His kind protecting hand my youth preferr'd, 
The regent of his Cephalenian herd : 
With vast increase beneath my care it spreads : 
A stately breed ! and blackens far the meads. 
Constraint, the choicest beeves I thence import, 
To cram these cormorants that crowd his court: 
Who in partition seek his realm to share ; 
Nor human right nor wrath divine revere. 
Since here resolved oppressive these reside, 
Contending doubts my anxious heart divide: 
Now to some foreign clime inclined to fly, 
And with the royal'herd protection buy; 
Then, happier thoughts return the nod'ding scale, 
Light mounts despair, alternate hopes prevail : 
In opening prospects of ideal joy, 
My king returns ; the proud usurpers die." 

To whom the chief : " In thy capacious mind 
Since daring zeal with cool debate is join'd, 
Attend a deed already ripe in fate : 
Attest, O Jove ! the truth I now relate ! 
This sacred truth attest, each genial power, 
Who bless the board, and guard this friendly bower I 
Before thou quit the dome (nor long delay) ' 
Thy wish produced in act, with pleased survey, 
Thy wondering eyes shall view : his rightful reign 
By arms avow'd Ulysses shall regain, 



BOOK XX.] THE ODYSSEY. 287 

And to the shades devote the suitor-train." 

" O Jove supreme ! (the raptured swain replies) 
With deeds consummate soon the promised joys ! 
These aged nerves, with new-born vigor strung, 
In that blest cause should emulate the youns r ." 
Assents Eumaeus to the prayer address'd ; 
And equal ardors fire his loyal breast. 

Meantime the suitors urge the prince's fate, 
And deathful arts employ the dire debate : 
When in his airy tour, the bird of Jove 
Truss'd with his sinewy pounce a trembling dove ; 
Sinister to their hope ! This omen eyed 
Amphinomus, who thus presaging cried : 

" The gods from force and fraud the prince defend ; 
O peers ! the sanguinary scheme suspend : 
Your future thought let 'sable fate employ ; 
And give the present hour to genial joy." 

From council straight the assenting peerage ceased 
And in the dome prepared tlie genial feast. 
Disrobed, their vests apart in order lay, 
Then all with speed succinct the victims slay ; 
With sheep and shaggy goats the porkers bled, 
And the proud steer was on the marble spread. 
With fire prepared, they deal the morsels round, 
Wine, rosy-bright, the brimming goblets crown'd 
By sage Eumaeus borne ; the purple tide 
Melanthius from an ample jar supplied : 
High canisters of bread Philaetius placed ; 
And eager all devour the rich repast. 
Disposed apart, Ulysses shares the treat ; 
A trivet table, and ignobler seat, 
The prince appoints ; but to his sire assigns 
The tasteful inwards, and nectareous wines. 
" Partake, my guest (he cried), without control 
The social feast, and drain the cheering bowl : 
Dread not the railer's laugh, nor ruffian's rage ; 
No vulgar roof protects thy honor'd age ; 
This dome a refuge to thy wrongs shall be, 
From my great sire too soon devolved to me ! 
Your violence and scorn, ye suitors, cease, 
Lest arms avenge the violated peace." 

Awed by the prince, so haughty, brave, and young, 
Rage gnaw'd the lip, amazement chain'd the tongue. 
" Be patient peers ! (at length Antinoiis cries) 
The threats of vain imperious youth despise : 
Would Jove permit the meditated blow, 
That stream of eloquence should cease to flow." 



288 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XX. 

Without reply vouchsafed, Antinous ceased : 
Meanwhile the pomp of festival increased: 
By heralds rank'd, in marshall'd order move 
The city tribes, to pleased Apollo's grove : 
Beneath the verdure of which awful shade, 
The lunar hecatomb they grateful laid ; 
Partook the sacred feast, and ritual honors paid. 
But the rich banquet, in the dome prepared 
(An humble sideboard set) Ulysses shared. 
Observant of the prince's high behest, 
His menial train attend the stranger-guest: 
Whom Pallas with unpardoning fury fired, 
By lordly pride and keen reproach inspired. 
A Sarnian peer, more studious than the rest 
Of vice, who teem'd with many a dead-born jest; 
And urged, for title to a consort queen, 
Unnumber'd acres arable and green 
(Ctesippus named) ; this lord Ulysses eyed, 
And thus burst out the imposthumate with pride : 

" The sentence I propose, ye peers, attend : 
Since due regard must wait the prince's friend, 
Let each a token of esteem bestow : 
This gift acquits the dear respect I owe ; 
With which he nobly may discharge his seat, 
And pay the menials for a master's treat." 

He said : and of the steer before him placed, 
That sinewy fragment at Ulysses cast, 
Where to the pastern-bone, by nerves combined, 
The well-horn 'd foot indissolubly join'd ; 
Which whizzing high, the wall unseemly sign'd. 
The chief indignant grins a ghastly sm'ile ; 
Revenge and scorn within his bosom boil : 
When thus the prince with pious rage inflamed : 
" Had not the inglorious wound thy malice aim'd 
Fall'n guiltless of the mark, my certain spear 
Had made thee buy the brutal triumph dear : 
Nor should thy sire a queen his daughter boast; 
The suitor, now, had vanish'd in a ghost: 
No more, ye lewd compeers, with lawless power 
Invade my dome, my herds and flocks devour: 
For genuine worth, of age mature to know, 
My grape shall redden, and my harvest grow. 
Or, if each other's wrongs ye still support, 
With rapes and riot to profane my court ; 
What single arm with numbers can contend ? 
On me let all your lifted swords descend, 
And with roy life such vile dishonors end." 



BOOK XX.] THE ODYSSEY. 289 

A long cessation of discourse ensued, 
By gentler Agelaiis thus renew'd : 

" A just reproof, ye peers ! your rage restrain 
From the protected guest, and menial train : 
And. prince ! to stop the source of future ill, 
Assent yourself, and gain the royal will. 
Whilst hope prevail'd to see your sire restored, 
Of right the queen refused a second lord : 
But who so vain of faith, so blind to fate, 
To think he still survives to claim the state ? 
Now press the sovereign dame with warm desire 
To wed, as wealth or worth her choice inspire : 
The lord selected to the nuptial joys 
Far hence will lead the long-contested prize : 
Whilst in paternal pomp with plenty bless'd, 
You reign, of this imperial dome possess'd." 

Sage and serene Telemachus replies : 
" By him at whose behest the thunder flies, 
And by the name on earth I most revere, 
By great Ulysses and his woes I swear ! 
(Who never must review his dear domain ; 
EnrolFd, perhaps, in Pluto's dreary train) 
Whene'er her choice the royal dame avows, 
My bridal gifts shall load the future spouse : 
But from this dome my parent queen to chase ! 
From me, ye gods ! avert such dire disgrace." 

But Pallas clouds with intellectual gloom 
The suitors' souls, insensate of their doom ! 
A mirthful frenzy seized the fated crowd; 
The roofs resound with causeless laughter loud : 
Floating in gore, portentous to survey ' 
In each discolor'd vase the viands lay: 
Then down each cheek the tears spontaneous flow, 
And sudden sighs precede approaching woe. 
In vision wrapp'd, the Hyperesian seer* 
Uprose, and thus divined the vengeance near : 

" O race to death devote ! with Stygian shade f 

* Theoclymenus. 

t O race to death ettvote. The gloomy fata'ism, so splendidly brought forward 
in this book, has been well described by Colonel M ure : 

" In the Greek religious calendar, the first days of the month were sacred to 
Apollo from the remotest period : and the Neomenia, or Feast of the New Moon, 
celebrated in honor of that deity, continued to be one of the most popular festivals in 
every age of classical antiquity. On the morning of the day destined for the destruc- 
tion of the suitors, the fourth after the arrival of Ulysses, they appear earlier than 
usual in the palace hall. The reason assigned is, 'that it is a great public festival,' 
the feast of Apollo, in fact, as stated a few lines afterwards, where the heralds are 
described as leading the victims in procession through the city, and the people assem- 
bled iu the grove of Phoebus. Now, it will be remembered'that Apollo was, in the 

'9 



290 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XX. 

Each destin'd peer inpending fates invade ; 

With tears your wan distorted cheeks are drovvn'd ; 

With sanguine drops the walls are rubied round : 

Thick swarms the spacious hall with howling ghosts, 

To people Orcus, and the burning coasts ! 

Nor gives the sun his golden orb to roll, 

But universal night usurps the pole ! " 

Yet warn'd in vain, with laughter loud elate 
The peers reproach the sure divine of Fate ; 
And thus Eurymachus : " The dotard's mind 
To every sense is lost, to reason blind : 
Swift from the dome conduct the slave away; 
Let him in open air behold the day." 

" Tax not (the heaven-illumined seer rejoin'd) 
Of rage, or folly, my prophetic mind. 
No clouds of error dim the ethereal rays, 
Her equal power each faithful sense obeys. 
Unguided hence my trembling steps I bend, 
Far hence, before yon hovering deaths descend ; 
Lest the ripe harvest of revenge begun, 
I share the doom ye suitors cannot shun." 

This said, to sage Pirasus sped the seer, 
His honor'd host, a welcome inmate there. 
O'er the protracted feast the suitors sit, 
And aim to wound the prince with pointless wit : 
Cries one, with scornful leer and mimic voice, 
"Thy charity we praise, but not thy choice; 
Why such profusion of indulgence shown 
To this poor, timorous, toil-detesting drone ? 
That others feed on planetary schemes, 
And pays his host with hideous noon-day dreams. 
But, prince ! for once at least believe a friend ; 
To some Sicilian mart these courtiers send, 
Where, if they yield their freight across the main, 
Dear sell the slaves ! demand no greater gain." 

Thus jovial they; but nought the prince replies; 
Full on his sire he roll'd his ardent eyes ; 

primitive mythology, and in that of Homer in particular, trie god of sudden death ; 
and the bow, his favorite weapon, was the emblem of his destructive attributes. The 
bow was also the weapon with which Ulysses was to consummate his vengeance on 
the suitors. Hence the competition of archery with the hero's bow, appointed by 
Penelope the day before as a test of their prowess, is selected with ominous propriety 
as the gymnastic entertainment of the feast of the trod. Mark, then, how impressive 
the combination ? The liht-hearted suitors, like moths playing sound the flame of a 
candle, were destined, while in the act of honoring the god of the bow and of sudden 
destruction, on his own feast day, and with his own weapon, to be suddenly destroyed 
by the bow of their injured sovereign. How fearful the se f-irony of their unconscious 
appeals to the patronage of the very deity at whose altar they were about to be sac- 
rificed." Mure, vol. i. p. 381. 



BOOK XX.] THE ODYSSEY. 291 

Impatient straight to flesh his virgin-sword ; 
From the wise chief he waits the deathful word. 
Nigh in her bright alcove, the pensive queen 
To see the circle sate, of all unseen. 
Sated at length they rise, and bid prepare 
An eve-repast, with' equal cost and care : 
But vengeful Pallas, with preventing speed, 
A feast proportion'd to their crimes decreed ; 
A feast of death, the feasters doom'd to bleed J 



292 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XXI. 



BOOK XXI. 

ARGUMENT. 

THR BENDING OF ULYSSES* BOW. 

Penelope, to put an end to the solicitation of the suitors, proposes to marry the person 
who shall first bend the bow of Ulysses, and shoot through the ringlets. After 
their attempts have proved ineffectual, Ulysses, taking Eumzus and PhilaMius 
apart, discovers himself to them ; then returning, desires leave to try his strength 
at the bow, which, though refused with indignation by the suitors, Penelope and 
Telemachus cause it to be delivered to his hands. He bends it immediately, and 
shoots through all the rings. Jupiter at the same instant thunders from heaven ; 
Ulysses accepts the omen, and gives a sign to Teiemachus, who stands ready 
armed at his side. 

AND Pallas now, to raise the rivals' fires, 
With her own art Penelope inspires : 
Who can bend Ulysses' bow, and wing 
The well-aim'd arrow through the distant ring, 
Shall end the strife, and win the imperial dame : 
But discord and black death await the game ! 
The prudent queen the lofty stair ascends, 
At distance due a virgin-train attends : 
A brazen key she held, the handle turned, 
With steel and polish'd elephant adorn'd : 
Swift to the inmost room she bent her way, 
Where, safe reposed, the royal treasures lay; 
There shone high heap'd the labor'd brass and ore, 

And there the bow which great Ulysses bore; 
And there the quiver, where now guiltless slept 
Those winged deaths that many a matron wept. 

This gift, long since, when Sparta's shore he trod, 
On young Ulysses Iphitus bestow'd: 
Beneath Orsilochus's roof they met ; 
One loss was private, one a public debt ; 
Messena's state from Ithaca detains 
Three hundred sheep, and all the shepherd swains ; 

* It is impossible not to feel some tedium in reading these latter books of the 
Odyssey. Although closely connected with the main subject, and necessary to the 
catastrophe, we cannot help perceiving, that the poem is spun out to a length which 
its real interest does not efficiently sustain. 



BOOK XXL] THE ODYSSEY. 293 

And to the youthful prince to urge the laws, 

The king and elders trust their common cause. 

But Iphitus, employ'd on other cares, 

Search'd the wide country for his wandering mares 

And mules, the strongest of the laboring kind ; 

Hapless to search ! more hapless still to find ! 

For journeying on to Hercules, at length 

That lawless wretch, that man of brutal strength, 

Deaf to Heaven's voice, the social rite transgress'd ; 

And for the beauteous mares destroy'd his guest. 

He gave the bow ; and on Ulysses' part 

Received a pointed sword, and missile dart : 

Of luckless friendship on a foreign shore 

Their first, last pledges ! for they met no more. 

The bow, bequeath 'd by this unhappy hand, 

Ulysses bore not from his native land ; 

Nor in the front of battle taught to bend, 

But kept in dear memorial of his friend. 

Now gently winding up the fair ascent, 
By many an easy step the matron went ; 
Then o'er the pavement gh'des with grace divine 
(With polish'd oak the level pavements shine); 
The folding gates a dazzling light display'd, 
With pomp of various architrave o'erlaid. 
The bolt, obedient to the silken string, 
Forsakes the staple as she pulls the ring; 
The wards respondent to the key turn round ; 
The bars fall back; the flying va'lves resound; 
Loud as a bull makes hill and valley ring, 
So roar'd the lock when it released the spring. 
She moves majestic through the wealthy room, 
Where treasured garments cast a rich perfume ; 
There from the column where aloft it hung, 
Reach 'd, in its splendid case, the bow unstrung 
Across her knees she laid the well-known bo 
And pensive sate, and tears began to flow. 
To full satiety of grief she mourns, 
Then silent to the joyous hall returns, 
To the proud suitors bears in pensive state 
The unbended bow, and arrows winded with fate. 

Behind, her train the polish'd coffer brings, 
Which held the alternate brass and silver rings. 
Full in the portal the chaste queen appears, 
And with her veil conceals the coming tears' 
On either side awaits a virgin fair; 
While thus the matron, with majestic air: 

" Say you, whom these forbidden walls inclose, 



294 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXI. 



For whom my victims bleed, my vintage flows : 

If these neglected, faded charms can move ? 

Or is it but a vain pretence, you love ? 

If I the prize, if me you seek to wife, 

Hear the conditions, and commence the strife. 

Who first Ulysses' wondrous bow shall bend, 

And through twelve ringlets the fleet arrow send ; 

Him will I follow, and forsake my home, 

For him forsake this loved, this wealthy dome, 

Long, long the scene of all my past delight, 

And still to last, the vision of my night ! " 

Graceful she said, and bade Eumaeus show 
The rival peers the ringlets and the bow. 
From his full eyes the tears unbidden spring, 
Touch'd at the dear memorials of his king. 
Philagtius too relents, but secret shed 
The tender drops. Antinoiis saw, and said : 

" Hence to your fields, ye rustics ! hence away, 
Nor stain with grief the pleasures of the day ; 
Nor to the royal heart recall in vain 
The sad remembrance of a perish'd man. 
Enough her precious tears already flow 
Or share the feast with due respect, or go 
To weep abroad, and leave to us the bow, 
No vulgar task ! Ill suits this courtly crew 
That stubborn horn which brave Ulysses drew. 
I well remember (for I gazed him o'er 
While yet a child), what majesty he bore ! 
And still (all infant as I was) retain. 
The port, the strength, the grandeur of the man." 

He said, but in his soul fond joys arise, 
And his proud hopes already win the prize. 
To speed the flying shaft through every ring, 
Wretch ! is not thine : the arrows of the king 
Shall end those hopes, and fate is on the wing ! 

Then thus Telemachus : " Some god I find 
With pleasing frenzy has possess'd my mind; 
When a loved mother threatens to depart, 
Why with this ill-timed gladness leaps my heart? 
Come then, ye suitors ! and dispute a prize 
Richer than all the Achaian state supplies, 
Than all proud Argos, or Mycaena knows, 
Than all our isles or continents inclose : 
A woman matchless, and almost divine, 
Fit for the praise of every tongue but mine 
No more excuses then, no more delay ; 
Haste to the trial Lo ! I lead the way. 



BOOK XXL] THE ODYSSEY. 295 

" I too may try, and if this arm can wing 
The feather'd arrow through the destined ring, 
Then if no happier knight the conquest boast, 
I shall not sorrow for a mother lost ; 
But, bless'd in her, possess those arms alone, 
Heir of my father's strength, as well as throne." 

He spoke ; then rising, his broad sword unbound, 
And cast his purple garment on the ground. 
A trench he open'd : in a line he placed 
The level axes, and the points made fast 
(His perfect skill the wondering gazers eyed, 
The game as yet unseen, as yet untried). 
Then, with a manly pace, he took his stand : 
And grasp'd the bow, and twang'd it in his hand. 
Three times, with beating heart, he made essay ; 
Three times, unequal to the task, gave way ; 
A modest boldness on his cheek appear'd : 
And thrice he hoped, and thrice again he fear'd. 
The fourth had drawn it. The great sire with joy 
Beheld, but with a sign forbade the boy. 
His ardor straight the obedient prince suppress'd, 
And, artful, thus the suitor-train address'd: 

" O lay the cause on youth yet immature ! 
(For Heaven forbid such weakness should endure !) 
How shall this arm, unequal to the bow, 
Retort an insult, or repel a foe ? 

But you ! whom Heaven with better nerves has bless'd, 
Accept the trial, and the prize contest." 

He cast the bow before him, and apart 
Against the polish'd quiver propp'd the dart. 
Resuming then his seat, Eupithes' son, 
The bold Antinoiis, to the rest begun : 
" From where the goblet first begins to flow, 
From right to left in order take the bow ; 
And prove your several strengths." The princes heard; 
And first Leiodes, blameless priest, appear'd : 
The eldest born of CEnops' noble race, 
Who next the goblet held his holy place : 
He, only he, of all the suitor throng. 
Their deeds detested, and abjured the wrong. 
With tender hands the stubborn horn he strains, 
The stubborn horn resisted all his pains ! 
Already in despair he gives it o'er: 
" Take it who will (he cries), I strive no more. 
What numerous deaths attend this fatal bow ! 
What souls and spirits shall it send below! 
Better, indeed, to die, and fairly give 



296 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXI. 

Nature her debt, than disappointed live, 
With each new sun to some new hope a prey, 
Yet still to-morrow falser than to-day." 
How long in vain Penelope we sought ! 
This bow shall ease us o that idle thought, 
And send us with some humbler wife to live, 
Whom gold shall gain, or destiny shall give." 

Thus speaking, on the floor the bow he placed 
(With rich inlay the various floor was graced) : 
At distance far the feather'd shaft he throws, 
And to the seat returns from whence he rose. 

To him Antinoiis thus with fury said : 
" What words 511-omen'd from thy lips have fled ? 
Thy coward-function ever is in fear ! 
Those arms are dreadful which thou canst not bear. 
Why should this bow be fatal to the brave ? 
Because the priest is born a peaceful slave. 
Mark then what others can." He ended there, 
And bade Melanthius a vast pile prepare ; 
He gives it instant flame, then fast beside 
Spreads o'er an ample board a bullock's hide. 
With melted lard they soak the weapon o'er, 
Chafe every knot, and supple every pore. 
Vain all their art, and all their strength as vain; 
The bo w inflexible resists their pain. 
The force of great Eurymachus alone 
And bold Antinous, yet untired, unknown : 
Those only now remain'd; but those confess'd 
Of all the train the mightiest and the best. 

Then from the hall, and from the noisy crew, 
The masters of the herd and flock withdrew. 
The king observes them, he the hall forsakes, 
And, past the limits of the court, o'ertakes. 
Then thus with accent mild Ulysses spoke : 
"Ye faithful guardians of the herd and flock! 
Shall I the secret of my breast conceal, 
Or (as my soul now dictates) shall I tell ? 
Say, should some favoring god restore again 
The lost Ulysses to his native reign, 
How beat your hearts ? what aid would you afford 
To the proud suitors, or your ancient lord ?" 

Philaetius thus : " O were thy word not vain ! 
Would mighty Jove restore that man again ! 
These aged sinews, with new vigor strung, 
In his blest cause should emulate the young." 
With equal vows Eumaeus too implored 
Each power above, with wishes for his lord. 



BOOK XXL] THE ODYSSEY. 297 

He saw their secret souls, and -thus began : 
" Those vows the gods accord ; behold the man ! 
Your own Ulysses ! twice ten years detain'd 
By woes and wanderings from this hapless land : 
At length he comes ; but comes despised, unknown, 
And finding faithful you, and" you alone. 
All else have cast him from their very thought, 
E'en in their wishes and their prayers forgot ! 
Hear then, my friends : If Jove this arm succeed, 
And give yon impious revellers to bleed, 
My care shall be to bless your future lives 
With large possessions and with faithful wives ; 
Fast by my palace shall your domes ascend, 
And each on young Telerriachus attend, 
And each be call'd his brother and my friend. 
To give you firmer faith, now trust your eye ; 
Lo ! the broad scar indented on my thigh, 
When with Autolycus's sons, of yore, 
On Parnass' top I chased the tusky boar." 
His ragged vest then drawn aside disclosed 
The sign conspicuous, and the scar exposed : 
Eager they view'd ; with joy they stood amazed : 
With tearful eyes o'er all their master gazed: 
Around his neck their longing arms they cast, 
His head, his shoulders, and his knees embraced ; 
Tears followed tears ; no word was in their power; 
In solemn silence fell the kindly shower. 
The king too weeps, the king too grasps their hands, 
And moveless, as a marble fountain, stands. 

Thus had their joy wept down the setting sun, 
But first the wise man ceased, and thus begun : 
" Enough on other cares your thought employ, 
For danger waits on all untimely joy. 
Full many foes, and fierce, observe us near ; 
Some may betray, and yonder walls may hear. 
Re-enter then, not all at once, but stay 
Some moments you, and let me lead the way. 
To me, neglected as I am, I know 
The haughty suitors will deny the bow; 
But thou, Eumasus, as 'tis borne away, 
Thy master's weapon to his hand convey. 
At every portal let some matron wait, 
And each lock fast the well-compacted gate : 
Close let them keep, whate'er invades their ear ; 
Though arms, or shouts, or dyhig groans they hear. 
To thy strict charge, Philaetius, we consign 
The court's main gate : to guard that pass be thine." 



298 THE ODYSSEY [BOOK XXI. 

This said, he first return'd ; the faithful swains 
At distance follow, as their king ordains. 
Before the flame Eurymachus now stands, 
And turns the bow, and chafes it with his hands : 
Still the tough bow unmoved. The lofty man 
Sigh'd from his mighty soul, and thus began : 

" I mourn the common cause ; for, oh, my friends ! 
On me, on all, what grief, what shame attends ' 
Not the lost nuptials can affect me more ! 
(For Greece has beauteous dame on every shore) 
But baffled thus ! confess'd so far below 
Ulysses' strength, as not to bend his bow ! 
How shall all ages our attempt deride ! 
Our weakness scorn ! " Antinoiis thus replied : 

"Not so, Eurymachus : that no man draws 
The wondrous bow, attend another cause. 
Sacred to Phoebus is the solemn day, 
Which thoughtless we in games would waste away : 
Till the next dawn this ill-timed strife forego, 
And here leave fixed the ringlets in a row. 
Now bid the sewer approach, and let us join 
In due libations, and in rites divine, 
So end our night : before the day shall spring 
The choicest offerings let Melanthius bring : 
Let then to Phoebus' name the fatted thighs 
Feed the rich smokes high curling to the skies. 
So shall the patron of these arts bestow 
(For his the gift) the skill to bend the bow." 

They heard well pleased : the ready heralds bring 
The cleansing waters from the limpid spring : 
The goblet high with rosy wine they crown'd, 
In order circling to the peers around. 
That rite complete, uprose the thoughtful man, 
And thus his meditated scheme began : 

" If what I ask your noble minds 7 approve, 
Ye peers and rivals in the royal love ! 
Chief, if it hurt not great Antinoiis' ear 
(Whose sage decision I with wonder hear), 
And if Eurymachus the motion please, 
Give Heaven this day and rest the bow in peace. 
To morrow let your arms dispute the prize, 
And take it he, the favor'd of the skies ! 
But, since till then this trial you delay, 
Trust it one moment to my hands to-day : 
Fain would I prove, before your judging eyes, 
What once I was, whom wretched you despise : 
If yet this arm its ancient force retain ; 



BOOK XXI.] THE ODYSSEY. 299 

Or if my woes (a long-continued train) 

And wants and insults, make me less than man." 

Rage flash'd in lightning from the suitors' eyes 
Yet mixed with terror at the bold emprise. 
Antinous then: "O miserable guest! 
Is common sense quite banish'd from thy breast ? 
Sufficed it not, within the palace placed, 
To sit distinguished, with our presence graced, 
Admitted here with princes to confer, 
A man unknown, a needy wanderer ? 
To copious wine this insolence we owe, 
And much thy betters wine can overthrow : 
The great Eurytian when this frenzy stung, 
Pirithous' roofs with frantic riot rung; 
Boundless the Centaur raged ; till one and all 
The heroes rose, and dragg'd him from the hall ; 
His nose they shorten'd, and his ears they slit, 
And sent him sober'd home, with better wit. 
Hence with long war the double race was cursed, 
Fatal to all, but to the aggressor first. 
Such fate I prophesy our guest attends, 
If here this interdicted bow he bends : 
Nor . t hill these walls such insolence contain : 
The first fair wind transports him o'er the main, 
Where Echetus to death the guilty brings 
(The worst of mortals, e'en the worst of kings). 
Better than that, if thou approve our cheer ; 
Cease the mad strife, and share our bounty here." 

To this the queen her just dislike express'd : 
" 'Tis impious, prince, to harm the stranger-guest, 
Base to insult who bears a suppliant's name, 
And some respect Telemachus may claim. 
What if the immortals on the man bestow 
Sufficient strength to draw the mighty bow? 
Shall I, a queen, by rival chiefs adored, 
Accept a wandering stranger for my lord ? 
A hope so idle never touch'd his brain : 
Then ease your bosoms of a fear so vain. 
Far be he banish'd from this stately scene 
Who wrongs his princess with a thought so mean." 

" O fair ! and wisest of so fair a kind ! 
(Respectful thus Eurymachus rejoin'd), 
Moved by no weak surmise, but sense of shame, 
We dread the all-arraigning voice of Fame ; 
We dread the censure of the meanest slave, 
The weakest woman : all can wrong the brave. 
1 Behold what wretches to the bed pretend 



3 oo THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXI. 

Of that brave chief whose bow they could not bencH 
In came a beggar of the strolling crew, 
And did what all those princes could not do.' 
Thus will the common voice our deed defame, 
And thus posterity upbraid our name." 

To whom the queen : " If fame engage your views, 
Forbear those acts which infamy pursues ; 
Wrong and oppression no renown can raise ; 
Know, friend ! that virtue is the path to praise. 
The stature of our guest, his port, his face, 
Speak him descended from no vulgar race. 
To him the bow, as he desires, convey ; 
And to his hand if Phoebus give the day, 
Hence, to reward his merit, he shall bear 
A two-edged falchion and a shining spear, 
Embroider'd sandals, a rich cloak and vest, 
A safe conveyance to his port of rest." 

" O royal mother ! ever-honor'd name ! 
Permit me (cries Telemachus) to claim 
A son's just right. No Grecian prince but I 
Has power this bow to grant, or to deny. 
Of all that Ithaca's rough hills contain, 
And all wide Elis' courser-breeding plain,* 
To me alone my father's arms descend ; 
And mine alone they are, to give or lend. 
Retire, O queen ! thy household task resume, 
Tend, with thy maids, the labors of thy loom ; 
The bow, the darts, and arms of chivalry, 
These cares to man belong, and most to me." 

Mature beyond his years, the queen admired 
His sage reply, and with her train retired ; 
There in her chamber as she sate apart, 
Revolved his words, and placed them in her heart. 
On her Ulysses then she fix'd her soul ; 
Down her fair cheek the tears abundant roll, 
Till gentle Pallas, piteous of her cries, 
In slumber closed her silver-streaming eyes. 

Now through the press the bow Eumaeus bore, 
And all was riot, noise, and wild uproar. 
" Hold ! lawless rustic ! whither wilt thou go? 
To whom, insensate, dost thou bear the bow ? 
Exiled for this to some sequester'd den, 
Far from the sweet society of men, 
To thy own dogs a prey thou shalt be made ; 

* Elis was celebrated not only for its breed of horses, but as. the grand scene of 
the Olympian games. 



BOOK XXI.] THE ODYSSEY. 301 

If Heaven and Phoebus lend the suitors aid." 

Thus they. Aghast he laid the weapon down, 

But bold Telemachus thus urged him on : 

" I'roceed, false slave, and slight their empty words: 

What! hopes the fool to please so many lords ? 

Young as 1 am, thy prince's vengeful ha'nd 

Stretch'd forth in wrath shall drive thee from the land. 

Oh ! could the vigor of this arm as well 

The oppressive suitors from my walls expel ? 

Then what a shoal of lawless men should go 

To fill with tumult the dark courts below! " 

The suitors with a scornful smile survey 
The youth, indulging in the genial day. 
Eumaeus, thus encouraged, hastes to bring 
The strifeful bow, and gives it to the king. 
Old Euryclea calling them aside, 
"Hear what Telemachus enjoins (he cried) : 
At every portal let some matron wait, 
And each lock fast the well-compacted gate ; 
And if unusual sounds invade their ear, 
If arms, or shouts, or dying groans they hear, 
Let none to call or issue forth presume, 
But close attend the labors of the loom." 

Her prompt obedience on his order waits ; 
Closed in an instant were the palace gates. 
In the same moment forth Philstius Hies, 
Secures the court, and with a cable ties 
The utmost gate (the cable strongly wrought 
Of Byblos' reed, a ship from Egypt brought) 
Then unperceived and silent at the board 
His seat he takes, his eyes upon his lord. 

And now his well-known bow tne master bore, 
Turn'd on all sides, and view'd it o'er and o'er ; 
Lest^ime or worms had done the weapon wrong, 
Its owner absent, and untried so long. 
While some deriding " How he turns the bow J 
Some other like it sure the man must know, 
Or else would copy ; or in bows he deals ; 
Perhaps he makes them, or perhaps he steals." 
" Heaven to this wretch (another cried) be kind! 
And bless, in all to which he stands inclined, 
With such good fortune as he now shall find." 

Heedless he heard them : but disdain'd reply ; 
The bow perusing with exactest eye. 
Then, as some heavenly minstrel, taught to sing 
High notes responsive to the trembling string, 
To some new strain when he adapts the lyre, 



302 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXI. 

Or the dumb lute refits with vocal wire, 
Relaxes, strains, and draws them to and fro ; 

So the great master drew the mighty bow, 
And drew with ease. One hand aloft display'd 
The bending horns, and one the string essay'd. 
From his essaying hand the bcring, let fly, 
Twang'd short and sharp like the shrill swallows cry. 
A general horror ran through all the race, 
Sunk was each heart, and pale was every face. 
Signs from above ensued : the unfolding sky 
In lightning burst ; Jove thunder'd from on high. 
Fired at the call of heaven's almighty Lord, 
He snatch'd the shaft that glitter'd on the board 
(Fast by, the rest lay sleeping in the sheath, 
But soon to fly, the messengers of death). 

Now sitting as he was, the cord he drew, 
Through every ringlet levelling his view : 
Then notch'd the shaft, released, and gave it wing 
The whizzing arrow vanish'd from the string, 
Sung on direct, and threaded every ring. 
The solid gate its fury scarcely bounds ; 
Pierced through and through the solid gate resounds. 
Then to the prince : " Nor have I wrought the shame ; 
Nor err'd this hand unfaithful to its aim ; 
Nor prov'd the toil too hard : nor have I lost 
That ancient vigor, once my pride and boast. 
Ill I deserved these haughty peers' disdain ; 
Now let them comfort their dejected train, 
In sweet repast their present hour employ, 
Nor wait till evening for the genial joy : 
Then to the lute's soft voice prolong the night ; 
Music, the banquet's most refined delight." 

He said, then gave a nod ; and at the word 
Telamachus girds on his shining sword. . 

Fast by his father's side he takes his stand : 
The beamy javelin lightens in his hand. 



BooKXXIL] THE ODYSSEY. 303 



BOOK XXII. 

ARGUMENT. 

THE DEATH OF THE SUITORS. 




THEN fierce the hero o'er the threshold strode ; 
Stripp'd of his rags, he blazed out like a god. 
Full in their face the lifted bow he bore, 
And quiver'd deaths, a formidable store ; 
Before his feet the rattling shower he threw, 
And thus, terrific, to the suitor-crew: 

" One venturous game this hand hath won to-day. 
Another, princes ! yet remains to play ; 
Another mark our arrow must attain. 
Phoebus, assist! nor be the labor vain." 
Swift as the word the parting arrow sings, 
And bears thy fate, Antinoiis, on its wings : 
Wretch that he was, of unprophetic soul ! 
High in his hands he rear'd the golden bowl ! 
E'en then to drain it lengthen'd out his breath; 
Changed to the deep, the bitter draught of death: 
For fate who fear'd amidst a feastful band ? 
And fate to numbers, by a single hand ? 
Full through his throat jlysses' weapon pass'd, 
And pierced his neck. He falls, and breathes his last. 
The tumbling goblet the wide floor o'erflows, 
A stream of gore burst spouting from his nose ; 
Grim in convulsive agonies he sprawls : 
Before him spurn'd the loaded table falls, 
And spreads the pavement with a mingled flood 
Of floating meats, and wine, and human blood. 
Amazed, confounded, as they saw him fall, 
Up rose the throngs tumultuous round the hall : 



304 ' THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXII. 

O'er all the dome they cast a haggard eye, 
Each look'd for arms : in vain ; no arms were nigh : 
" Aim'st thou at princes ? (all amazed they said) : 
Thy last of games unhappy hast thou play'd ; 
Thy erring shaft has made our bravest bleed, 
And death, unlucky guest, attends thy deed. 
Vulture shall tear thee." Thus incensed they spoke, 
While each to chance ascribed the wondrous stroke : 
Blind as they were : for death e'en now invades 
His destined prey, and wraps them all in shades. 
Then, grimly frowning, with a dreadful look, 
That wither'd all their hearts, Ulysses spoke : 

" Dogs, ye have had your day ! ye fear'd no more 
Ulysses vengeful from the Trojan shore ; 
While, to your lust and spoil a guardless prey, 
Our house, our wealth, our helpless handmaids lay : 
Not so content, with bolder frenzy fired, 
E'en to our bed presumptuous you aspired : 
Laws or divine or human fail'd to move, 
Or shame of men, or dread of gods above ; 
Heedless alike of infamy or praise, 
Or Fame's eternal voice in future days ; 
The hour of vengeance, wretches, now is come ; 
Impending fate is yours, and instant doom." 

Thus dreadful he. Confused the suitors stood, 
From their pale cheeks recedes the flying blood : 
Trembling they sought their guilty heads to hide, 
Alone the bold Eurymachus replied : 

" If, as thy words import (he thus began), 
Ulysses lives, and thou the mighty man, 
Great are thy wrongs, and much hast thou sustain'd 
In thy spoil'd palace, and exhausted land ; 
The cause and author of those guilty deeds, 
Lo ! at thy feet unjust Antinoiis bleeds. 
Not love, but wild ambition was his guide ; 
To slay thy son, thy kingdom to divide, 
These were his aims ; but juster Jove denied. 
Since cold in death the offender lies, oh spare 
Thy suppliant people, and receive their prayer ! 
Brass, gold, and treasures, shall the spoil defray, 
Two hundred oxen every prince shall pay : 
The waste of years refunded in a day. 
Till then thy wrath is just." Ulysses burn'd 
With high disdain, and sternly thus return'd : 

" All, all the treasure that enrich'd our throne 
Before your rapiners join'd with all your own, 
If offer'd, vainly should for mercy call ; 



BOOK XXII.] THE ODYSSEY. f 305 

'Tis you that offer, and I scorn them all ; 
Your blood is my demand, your lives the prize, 
Till pale as yonder wretch each suitor lies. 
Hence with those coward terms ; or fight or fly ; 
This choice is left you, to resist or die : 
And die I trust ye shall." He sternly spoke : 
With guilty fears the pale assembly shook. 
Alone Eurymachus exhorts the tra'in : 
"Yon archer, comrades, will not shoot in vain ; 
But from the threshold shall his darts be sped, 
(Whoe'er he be), till every prince lie dead ? 
Be mindful of yourselves, draw forth your swords, 
And to his shafts obtend these ample boards 
(So need compels). Then, all united strive 
The bold invader from his post to drive : 
The city roused shall to our rescue haste, 
And this mad archer soon have shot his last," 
Swift as he spoke, he drew his traitor sword, 
And like a lion rush'd against his lord : 
The wary chief the rushing foe repress'd, 
Who met the point and forced it in his breast : 
His falling hand deserts the lifted sword, 
And prone he falls extended o'er the board ' 
Before him wide, in mix'd effusion roll 
The untasted viands, and the jovial bowl. 
Full through his liver pass'd the mortal wound, 
With dying rage his forehead beats the ground ; 
He spurn'd the seat with fury as he fell, 
And the fierce soul to darkness dived, and helL 
Next bold Amphinomus his arm extends 
To force the pass ; the godlike man defends. 
Thy spear, Telemachus, prevents the attack, 
The brazen weapon driving through his back, 
Thence through his breast its bloody passage tore ; 
Flat falls he thundering on the marble floor, 
And his crush 'd forehead marks the stone with gore. 
He left his javelin in the dead, for fear 
The long encumbrance of the weighty spear 
To the fierce foe advantage might afford, 
To rush between and use the shorten'd sword. 
With speedy ardor to his sire he flies, 
And, "Arm, great father ! arm (in haste he cries). 
Lo, hence I run for other arms to wield, 
For missive javelins, and for helm and shield ; 
Fast by our side let either faithful swain 
In arms attend us, and their part sustain." 
" Haste, and return (Ulysses made reply) 

20 



36 THE ODYSSEY. |BooK XXII. 

While yet the auxiliar shafts this hand supply ; 

Lest thus alone, encounter'd by an host, 

Driven from the gate, the important pass be lost." 

With speed Telemachus obeys, and flies 
Where piled in heaps the royal armor lies ; 
Four brazen helmets, eight refulgent spears, 
And four broad bucklers to his sire he bears ; 
At once in brazen panoply they shone, 
At once each servant braced his armor on ; 
Around their king a faithful guard they stand, 
While yet each shaft flew deathful from his hand : 
Ghief after chief expired at every wound, 
And swell'd the bleeding mountain on the ground. 
Soon as his store of flying fates was spent, 
Against the wall he set the bow unbent ; 
And now his shoulders bear the massy shield, 
And now his hands two beamy javelins wield : 
He frowns beneath his nodding plume, that play'd 
O'er the high crest, and cast a dreadful shade. 

There stood a window near, whence looking down 
From o'er the porch appear'd the subject town. 
A double strength of valves secured the place, 
A high and narrow, but the only pass : 
The cautious king, with all-preventing care, 
To guard that outlet, placed Eumseus there ; 
When Agelaiis thus: "Has none the sense 
To mount yon window, and alarm from thence 
The neighbor-town ? the town shall force the door, 
And this bold archer soon shall shoot no more." 

Melanthius then : "That outlet to the gate 
So near adjoins, that one may guard the strait. 
But other -methods of defence remain'; 
Myself with arms can furnish all the train ; 
Stores from the royal magazine I bring, . 
And their own darts shall pierce the prince and king." 

He said ; and mounting up the lofty stairs, 
Twelve shields, twelve lances, and twelve helmets bears : 
All arm, and sudden round the hall appears 
A blaze of bucklers, and a wood of spears. 

The hero stands oppress'd with mighty woe, 
On every side he sees the labor grow : 
" Oh cursed event ! and oh unlook'd for aid ! 
Melanthius or the women have betray'd 
Oh my dear son ! " The father with a sigh 
Then ceased ; the filial virtue made reply : 

" Falsehood is folly, and 'tis just to own, 
The fault committed : this was mine alone ; 



BOOK XXII.J THE ODYSSEY. 307 

My haste neglected yonder door to bar, 
And hence the villain has supplied their war. 
Run, good Eumaeus, then, and (what before 
I thoughtless err'd in) well secure that door: 
Learn, if by female fraud this deed were done, 
Or (as my thought misgives) by Dolius' son." 

While yet they spoke, in quest of arms again 
To the high chamber stole the faithless swain, 
Not unobserved. Eumaeus watchful eyed, 
And thus address'd Ulysses near his side : 

" The miscreant we suspected takes that way ; 
Him, if this arm be powerful, shall I slay ? 
Or drive him hither, to receive the meed 
From thy own hand, of this detested deed ?" 

" Not so (replied Ulysses) ; leave him there, 
For us sufficient is another care: 
Within the structure of this palace wall 
To keep enclosed his masters till they fall. 
Go you, and seize the felon ; backward bind 
His'arms and legs, and fix a plank behind: 
On this his body by strong cords extend, 
And on a column near the roof suspend : 
So studied tortures his vile days shall end." 

The ready swains obey'd with joyful haste, 
Behind the felon unperceived they pass'd, 
As round the room in quest of arms he goes 
(The half-shut door conceal'd his lurking foes) : 
One hand sustain'd a helm, and one the shield 
Which old Laertes wont in youth to wield, 
Cover'd with dust, with dryness chapp'd and worn, 
The brass corroded, and the leather torn. 
Thus laden, o'er the threshold as he stepp'd, 
Fierce on the villain from each side they leap'd, 
Back by the hair the trembling dastard drew, 
And down reluctant on the pavement threw. 
Active and pleased the zealous swains fulfil 
At every point their master's rigid will : 
First, fast behind, his hands and feet they bound, 
Then straiten'd cords involved his body round; 
So drawn aloft, athwart the column tied, 
The howling felon swung from side to side. 

Eumaeus scoffing then with keen disdain: 
"There pass thy pleasing night, O gentle swain! 
On that soft pillow from that envied height, 
First may'st thou see the springing dawn of light ; 
To timely rise when morning streaks the east, 
So drive thy victims to the suitors' feast." 



308 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXII. 

This said they left him, tortured as he lay, 
Secured the door, aad hasty strode away : 
Each, breathing death, resumed his dangerous post 
Near great Ulysses; four against an host. 
When lo ! descending to her hero's aid, 
Jove's daughter, Pallas, War's triumphant maid: 
In Mentor's friendly form she ioin'd his side : 
Ulysses saw, and thus with transport cried : 

" Come, ever welcome, and thy succor lend ; 
O every sacred name in one, my friend ! 
Early we loved, and long our loves have grown ; 
Whate'er through life's whole series I have done, 
Or good, or grateful, now to mind recall, 
And, aiding this one hour, repay it all." 

Thus he ; but pleasing hopes his bosom warm 
Of Pallas latent in the friendly form. 
The adverse host the phantom-warrior eyed, 
And first, loud-threatening, Agelaiis cried : 

" Mentor, beware, nor let that tongue persuade 
Thy frantic arm to lend Ulysses aid ; 
Our force successful shall our threat make good, 
And with the sire and son commix thy blood. 
What hopest thou here ? Thee first the sword shall slav 
Then lop thy whole posterity away ; 
Far hence thy banish'd consort shall we send ; 
With his thy forfeit lands and treasures blend; 
Thus, and thus only, shalt thou join thy friend." 

His barbarous insult even the goddess fires, 
Who thus the warrior to revenge inspires : 

" Art thou Ulysses ? where then shall we find 
The patient body and the constant mind ? 
That courage, once the Trojans' daily dread, 
Known nine long years, and felt by heroes dead ? 
And where that conduct, which revenged the lust 
Of Priam's race, and laid proud Troy in dust? 
If this, when Helen was the cause, were done ; 
What for thy country now, thy queen, thy son ? 
Rise then in combat, at my side attend ; 
Observe what vigor gratitude can lend, 
And foes how weak, opposed against a friend ! " 

She spoke ; but willing longer to survey 
The sire and son's great acts, withheld the day ! 
By farther toils decreed the brave to try, 
And level poised the wings of victory ; 
Then with a change of form eludes their sight, 
Perch'd like a swallow on a rafter's height, 
And unperceived enjoys the rising fight." 



BOOK XXII.] THE ODYSSEY. 39 

Damastor's son, bold Agelaiis, leads 
The guilty war, Eurynomus succeeds ; 
With these, Pisander, great Polyctor's son, 
Sage Polybus, and stern Amphimedon, 
With Demoptolemus : these six survive ; 
The best of all the shafts had left alive. 
Amidst the carnage, desperate as they stand, 
Thus Agelaiis roused the lagging band : 

" The hour is come, when yoa fierce man no more 
With bleeding princes shall bestrew the floor. 
Lo ! Mentor leaves him with an empty boast ; 
The four remain, but four against an host. 
Let each at once discharge the deadly dart, 
One sure of six shall reach Ulysses' heart ; 
The rest must perish, their great leader slain : 
Thus shall one stroke the glory lost regain." 

Then all at once their mingled lances threw, 
And thirsty all of one man's blood they flew ; 
In vain ! Minerva turn'd them with her breath, 
And scatter'd short, or wide, the points of death ! 
With deaden'd sound one on the threshold falls, 
One strikes the gate, one rings against the walls 
The storm pass'd innocent. The godlike man 
Now loftier trod, and dreadful thus began : 
" 'Tis now (brave friends) our turn, at once to throw 
(So speed them Heaven) our javelins at the foe. 
That impious race to all their past misdeeds 
Would add our blood, injustice still proceeds." 

He spoke : at once their fiery lances flew : 
Great Demoptolemus Ulysses slew; 
Euryades received the prince's dart ; 
The goatherd's quiver'd in Pisancler's heart ; 
Fierce Elatus by thine, Eumasus, falls ; 
Their fall in thunder echoes round the walls. 
The rest retreat : the victors now advance, 
Each from the dead resumes his bloody lance. 
Again the foe discharge the steely shower ; 
Again made frustrate by the virgin-power. 
Some, turn'd by Pallas, on the threshold fall, 
Some wound the gate, some rin<j against the wall; 
Some weak, or ponderous with the brazen head, 
Drop harmless on the pavement, sounding dead. 

Then bold Amphimedon his javelin cast ; 
Thy hand, Telemachus. it lightly razed : 
And from Ctesippus' arm the spear elanced 
On good Eumaeus, shield and shoulder glanced : 
Not lessen'd of their force (so light the wound) 



310 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXII. 

Each sung along, and dropp'd upon the ground. 

Fate doom'd thee next, Eurydamus, to bear 

Thy death ennobled by Ulysses' spear. 

By the bold son Amphimedon was slain, 

And Polybus renown'd, the faithful swain. 

Pierced through the breast the rude Ctesippus bled, 

And thus Philaetius gloried o'er the dead . 

" There end thy pompous vaunts, and high disdain ; 
O sharp in scandal, voluble, and vain ! 
How weak is mortal pride ! To Heaven alone 
The event of actions and our fates are known : 
Scoffer, behold what gratitude we bear : 
The victim's heel is answer'd with this spear." 

Ulysses brandish'd high his vengeful steel, 
And Damastorides that instant fell ; 
Fast by Leocritus expiring lay, 
The prince's javelin tore its bloody way 
Through all his bowels : down he tumbles prone, 
His batter'd front and brains besmear the stone. 

Now Pallas shines confess'd ; aloft she spreads 
The arm of vengeance o'er their guilty heads : 
The dreadful aegis blazes in their eye : 
Amazed they see, they tremble, and they fly : 
Confused, distracted, through the rooms they fling: 
Like oxen madden'd by the breeze's sting, 
When sultry days, and long, succeed the gentle spring. 
Not half so keen fierce vultures of the chase 
Stoop from the mountains on the feather'd race, 
When, the wide field extended snares beset, 
With conscious dread they shun the quivering net : 
No help, no flight ; but wounded every way, 
Headlong they drop ; the fowlers seize the prey. 
On all sides thus they double wound on wound, 
In prostrate heaps the wretches beat the ground, 
Unmanly shrieks precede each dying groan, 
And a red deluge floats the reeking stone. 

Leiodes first before the victor falls : 
The wretched augur thus for mercy calls : 
" Oh gracious hear, nor let thy suppliant bleed : 
Still undishonor'd, or by word or deed, 
Thy house, for me, remains ; by me repress'd 
Full oft was check'd the injustice of the rest : 
Averse they heard me when I counsell'd well, 
Their hearts were harden'd, and they justly fell. 
O spare an augur's consecrated head, 
Nor add the blameless to the guilty dead." 

" Priest as thou art ! for that detested band 



BOOK XXII.] THE ODYSSEY. 3" 

Thy lying; prophecies deceived the land : 
Against Ulysses have thy vows been made, 
For them thy daily orisons were paid : 
Yet more, e'en to our bed thy pride aspires : 
One common crime one common fate requires." 

Thus speaking, from the ground the sword he took 
Which Agelaus' dying hand forsook : 
Full through his neck the weighty falchion sped; 
Along the pavement roll'd the muttering head. 

1'hemius alone the hand of vengeance spared, 
Phemius the sweet, the heaven-instructed bard. 
Beside the gate the reverend minstrel stands ; 
The lyre now silent trembling in his hands ; 
Dubious to supplicate the chief, or fly 
To Jove's inviolable altar nigh, 
Where oft Laertes holy vows had paid, 
And oft Ulysses smoking victims laid. 
His honor'd harp with care he first set down, 
Between the laver and the silver throne ; 
Then prostrate stretch 'd before the dreadful man, 
Persuasive thus, with accent soft began : 

" O king ! to mercy be thy soul inclined, 
And spare the poet's ever-gentle kind. 
A deed like this thy future fame would wrong, 
For dear to gods and men is sacred song. 
Self-taught I sing; by Heaven, and Heaven alone, 
The genuine seeds of poesy are sown : 
And (what the gods bestow) the lofty lay 
To gods alone and godlike worth we pay. 
Save then the poet, and thyself reward ; 
'Tis thine to merit, mine is to record. 
That here I sung, was force, and not desire; 
This hand reluctant touch 'd the warbling wire ; 
And let thy son attest, nor sordid pay, 
Nor servile flattery, stain'd the moral lay." 

The moving words Telemachus attends, 
His sire approaches, and the bard defends. 
" O mix not, father, with those impious dead 
The man divine ! forbear that sacred head ; 
Medon, the herald, too, our arms may spare, 
Medon, who made my infancy his care ; 
If yet he breathes, permit thy son to give 
Thus much to gratitude, and bid him live." 

Beneath a table, trembling with dismay, 
Couch 'd close to earth, unhappy Medon lay, 
Wrapp'd in a new-slain ox's ample hide ; 
Swift at the word he cast his screen aside, 



THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXII. 



Sprung to the prince, embraced his knee with tears, 
And thus with grateful voice address'd his ears : 

" O prince ! O friend! Jo, here thy Medon stands : 
Ah stop the hero's unresisted hands, 
Incensed too justly by that impious brood, 
Whose guilty glories now are set in blood." 

To whom Ulysses with a pleasing eye : 
" Be bold, on friendship and my son rely; 
Live, an example for the world to read, 
How much more safe the good than evil deed : 
Thou, with the heaven-taught bard, in peace resort 
From blood and carnage to yon open court : 
Me other work requires." With timorous awe 
From the dire scene the exempted two withdraw, 
Scarce sure of life, look round, and trembling move 
To the bright altars of Protector Jove. 

Meanwhile Ulysses search'd the dome, to find 
If yet there live of all the offending kind. 
Not one ! complete the bloody tale he found, 
All steep'd in blood, all gasping on the ground. 
So, when by hollow shores the fisher-train 
Sweep with their arching nets the roaring main, 
And scarce the meshy toils the copious draught contain, 
All naked of their element, and bare, 
The fishes pant, and gasp in thinner air; 
Wide o'er the sands are spread the stiffening prey, 
Till the warm sun exhales their soul away. 

And now the king commands his son to call 
Old Euryclea to the deathful hall : 
The son c b ;ervant not a moment stays ; 
The aged governess with speed obeys ; 
The sounding portals instant they display ; 
The matron moves, the prince directs the way. 
On heaps of death the stern Ulysses stood, 
All black with dust, and cover'd thick with blood. 
So the grim lion from the slaughter comes, 
Dreadful he glares, and terribly he foams, 
His breast with marks of carnage painted o'er, 
His jaws all dropping with the bull's black gore. 

Soon as her eyes the welcome object met, 
The guilty fall'n, the mighty deed complete ; 
A scream of joy her feeble voice essay'd : 
The hero check'd her, and composedly said: 

" Woman, experienced as thou art, control 
Indecent joy, and feast thy secret soul. 
To insult the dead is cruel and unjust; 
Fate and their crime have sunk them to the dust. 



BOOK XXII.] THE ODYSSEY. 313 

Nor heeded these the censure of mankind, 
The good and bad were equal in their mind. 
Justly the price of worthlessness they paid, 
And each now wails an unlamented shade. 
But thou sincere ! O Euryclea, say, 
What maids dishonor us, and what obey ?" 

Then she : " In these thy kingly walls remain 
(My son) full fifty of the handmaid train, 
Taught by my care to cull the fleece or weave, 
And servitude with pleasing tasks deceive ; 
Of these, twice six pursue their wicked way, 
Nor me, nor chaste Penelope obey; 
Nor fits it that Telemachus command 
(Young as he is) his mother's female band. 
Hence to the upper chambers let me fly, 
Where slumbers soft now close the royal eye; 
There wake her with the news " the matron cried. 
" Not so (Ulysses, more sedate, replied), 
Bring first the crew who wrought these guilty deeds." 
In haste the matron parts : the king proceeds : 

" Now to dispose the dead, the care remains 
To you. my son, and you, my faithful swains ; 

The offending females to that task we doom, 
To wash, to scent, and purify the room: 
These (every table cleansed, and every throne, 
And all the melancholy labor done) 
Drive to yon court, without the palace wall, 
There the revenging sword shall smite them all; 
So with the suitors let them mix in dust, 
Stretch 'd in a long oblivion of their lust." 
He said : the lamentable train appear, 
Each vents a groan, and drops a tender tear: 
Each heaved her mournful burden, and beneath 
The porch deposed the ghastly heap of death. 
The chief severe, compelling each to move, 
Urged the dire task imperious from above : 
With thirsty sponge they rub the tables o'er 
(The swains unite their toil) ; the walls, the floor, 
Wash'd with the effusive wave, are purged of gore. 
Once more the palace set in fair array, 
To the base court the females take their way : 
There compass'd close between the dome and wall 
(Their life's last scene) they trembling wait their fall. 

Then thus. the prince : " To these shall we afford 
A fate so pure as by the martial sword ? 
To these, the nightly prostitutes to shame, 
And base revilers of our house and name ? " 



314 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXII. 

Thus speaking, on the circling wall he strung 
A ship's tough cable, from a column hung ; 
Near the high top he strain'd it strongly round, 
Whence no contending foot could reach the ground. 
Their heads above connected in a row, 
They beat the air with quivering feet below : 
Thus on some tree hung struggling in the snare, 
The doves or thrushes flap their wings in air. 
Soon fled the soul impure, and left behind 
The empty corse to waver with the wind. 

Then forth they led Melanthius, and began 
Their bloody work ; they lopp'd away the man, 
Morsel for dogs ! then trimm'd with brazen shears 
The wretch, and shorten'd off his nose and ears ; 
His hands and feet last felt the cruel steel : 
He roar'd, and torments gave his soul to hell. 
They wash, and to Ulysses take their way: 
So ends the bloody business of the day. 

To Euryclea then address'd the king: 
"Bring hither fire, and hither sulphur bring, 
To purge the palace : then the queen attend, 
And let her with her matron-train descend ; 
The matron-train, with all the virgin band, 
Assemble here, to learn their lord's command." 

Then Euryclea : " Joyful I obey, 
But cast those mean dishonest rags away ; 
Permit me first the royal robes to bring ; 
111 suits this garb the shoulders of a king." 
"Bring sulphur straight, and fire " (the monarch cries). 
She hears, and at the word obedient flies. 
With fire and sulphur, cure of noxious fumes, 
He purged the walls, and blood-polluted rooms. 
Again the matron springs with eager pace, 
And spreads her lord's return from place to place. 
They hear, rush forth, and instant round him stand, 
A gazing throng, a torch in every hand. 
They saw, they knew him, and with fond embrace 
Each humbly kiss'd his knee, or hand, or face ; 
He knows them all, in all such truth appears, 
E'en he indulges the sweet joy of tears. 



BOOK XXIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 3*5 



BOOK XXIII. 

ARGUMENT. 

uryclea awakens Penelope with the news of Ulysses' return, and the death of the 
suitors. Penelope scarcely credits her ; but supposes some god has punished 
them, and descends from her apartment in doubt. At the first interview of Ulysses 
and Penelope, she is quite unsatisfied. Minerva restores him to the beauty of his 
youth ; but the queen continues incredulous, till by some circumstances she is 
convinced, and falls into all the transports of passion and tenderness. They re- 
count to each other all that has passed during their long separation. The next 
morning Ulysses, arming himself and his friends, goes from the city to visit his 
father. 

THEN to the queen, as in repose she lay, 
The nurse with eager rapture speeds her ways 
The transports of her faithful heart supply 
A sudden youth, and give her wings to fly. 

" And sleeps my child ? (the reverend matron ones) 
Ulysses lives ! arise, my child, arise ! 
At length appears the long-expected hour! 
Ulysses comes ! the suitors are no more ! 
No more they view the golden light of day ! 
Arise, and bless thee with the glad survey !" 

Touch 'd at her words, the mournful queen rejoin'd : 
" Ah ! whither wanders thy distemper'd mind ? 
The righteous powers, who tread the starry skies, 
The weak enlighten, and confound the wise, 
And human thought, with unresisted sway, 
Depress or raise, enlarge or take away : 
Truth, by their high decree, thy voice forsakes, 
And folly with the tongue of wisdom speaks. 
Unkind, the fond illusion to impose ! 
Was it to flatter or deride my woes ? 
Never did I a sleep so sweet enjoy, 
Since my dear lord left Ithaca for Troy. 
Why must I wake to grieve, and curse thy shore, 
O Troy ? may never tongue pronounce thee more ! 
Begone ! another might have felt our rage, 
But age is sacred, and we spare thy age." 

To whom with warmth : ' My soul a lie disdains: 
Ulysses lives, thy own Ulysses reigns : 
That stranger, patient of the suitors' wrongs, 
And the rude license of ungovern'd tongues, 



316 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XXIII. 

He, he is thine ! Thy son his latent guest 
Long knew, but lock'd the secret in his breast ; 
With well-concerted art to end his woes, 
And burst at once in vengeance on the foes." 

While yet she spoke, the queen in transport sprung 
Swift from the couch, and round the matron hung ; 
Fast "from her eye descends the rolling tear : 
" Say, once more say, is my Ulysses here ? 
How could that numerous and outrageous band 
By one be slain, though by a hero's hand ? " 

" I saw it not (she cries), but heard alone, 
When death was busy, a loud dying groan ; 
The damsel-train turn'd pale at every wound, 
Immured we sate, and catch'd each passing sound , 
When death had seized her prey, thy son attends, 
And at his nod the damsel-train descends ; 
There terrible in arms Ulysses stood, 
And the dead suitors almost swam in blood : 
Thy heart had leap'd the hero to survey, 
Stern as the surly lion o'er his prey. 
Glorious in gore, now with sulphureous fires 
The dome he purges, now the flame aspires : 
Heap'd lie the dead without the palace walls 
Haste, daughter, haste, thy own Ulysses calls! 
Thy every wish the bounteous gods bestow 
Enjoy the present good, and former \voe. 
Ulysses lives, his vanquish'd foes to see ; 
He lives to thy Telemachus and thee !" 

"Ah no! (with sighs Penelope rejoin'd) 
Excess of joy disturbs thy wandering mind; 
How blest this happy hour, should he appear, 
Dear to us all, to me supremely dear ; 
Ah,.no! some god the suitors' death decreed, 
' Some god descends, and by his hand they bleed ; 
Blind ! to contemn the stranger's righteous cause, 
And violate all hospitable laws ! 
The good they hated, and the powers defied ; 
But Heaven is just, and by a-god they died. 
For never must Ulysses view this shore ; 
Never! the loved Ulysses is no more ! " 

"What words (the matron cries) have reach'd my ears ? 
Doubt we his presence, when he now appears ? 
Then hear conviction : Ere the fatal day 
That forced Ulysses o'er the watery way, 
A boar, fierce rushing in the sylvan war, 
Plough 'd half his thigh ; I saw, I saw the scar. 
And wild with transport had reveal'd the wound ; 



BOOK XXIII.] TFIE ODYSS'EY. 317 

But ere I spoke, he rose, and check'd the sound. 

Then, daughter, haste away ! and if a lie 

Flow from this tongue, then let thy servant die ! " 

To whom with dubious joy the queen replies 
" Wise is thy soul, but errors seize the wise ; 
The works of gods what mortal can survey ? 
Who knows their motives, who shall trace their way ? 
But learn we instant how the suitors trod 
The paths of death, by man, or by a god." 

Thus speaks the queen, and no reply attends, 
But with alternate joy and fear descends ; 
At every step debates her lord to prove ; 
Or, rushing to his arms, confess her love ! 
Then gliding through the marble valves, in state 
Opposed, before the shining sire she sate. 
The monarch, by a column high enthroned, 
His eye withdrew, and fix'd it on the ground ; 
Curious to hear his queen the silence break : 
Amazed she sate, and impotent to speak ; 
O'er all the man her eyes she rolls in vain, 
Now hopes, now fears, now knows, then doubts again. 
At length Telemachus : " Oh, who can rind 
A woman like Penelope unkind ? 
Why thus in silence ? why with winning charms 
Thus slow to fly with rapture to his arms ? 
Stubborn the breast that with no transport glows, 
When twice ten years are pass'd of mighty woes ; 
To softness lost, to spousal love unknown, 
The gods have formed that rigid heart of stone ! " 

" O my Telemachus ! (the queen rejoin'd) 
Distracting fears confound my laboring mind ; 
Powerless to speak, I scarce uplift my eyes, 
Nor dare to question ; doubts on doubts arise. 
Oh deign he, if Ulysses, to remove 
These boding thoughts, and what he is, to prove ! " 

Pleased with her virtuous fears, the king replies : 
" Indulge, my son, the cautions of the wise ; 
Time shall the truth to sure remembrance bring: 
This garb of poverty belies the king: 
No more. This day our deepest care requires, 
Cautious to act what thought mature inspires. 
If one man's blood, though mean, distain our hands, 
The homicide retreats to foreign lands ; 
By us, in heaps the illustrious peerage falls. 
The important deed our whole attention calls." 

" Be that thy care (Telemachus replies); 
The world conspires to speak Ulysses wise ; 



318 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XXIII. 

For wisdom all is thine ! lo, I obey, 
And dauntless follow where you lead the way. 
Nor shalt thou in the day of danger find 
Thy coward son degenerate lag behind." 

" Then instant to the bath (the monarch cries) 
Bid the gay youth and sprightly virgins rise, 
Thence all descend in pomp and proud array, 
And bid the dome resound the mirthful lay ; 
While the sweet lyrist airs of rapture sings, 
And forms the dance responsive to the strings. 
That hence the eluded passengers may say, 
' Lo ! the queen weds ! we hear the spousal lay ! ' 
The suitors' death, unknown, till we remove 
Far from the court, and act inspired by Jove." 

Thus spoke the king : the observant train obey, 
At once they bathe, and dress in proud array : 
The lyrist strikes the string; gay youths advance, 
And fair-zoned damsels form the sprightly dance. 
The voice, attuned to instrumental sounds, 
Ascends the roof, the vaulted roof rebounds ; 
Not unobserved : the Greeks eluded say, 
" Lo ! the queen weds, we hear the spousal lay ! 
Inconstant! to admit the bridal hour." 
Thus they but nobly chaste she weds no more. 

Meanwhile the weaned king the bath ascends ; 
With faithful cares Eurynome attends, 
O'er every limb a shower of fragrance sheds ; 
Then, dress'd in pomp, magnificent he treads. 
The warrior-goddess gives his frame to shine 
With majesty enlarged, and grace divine. 
Back from his brows in wavy ringlets fly 
His thick large locks of hyacinthine dye. 
As by some artist to whom Vulcan gives 
His heavenly skill, a breathing image lives ; 
By Pallas taught, he frames the wondrous mould, 
And the pale silver glows with fusile gold : 
So Pallas his heroic form improves 
With bloom divine, and like a god he moves ! 
More high he treads, and issuing forth in state, 
Radiant before his gazing consort sate. 
" And, O my queen ! (he cries) what power above 
Has steel'd that heart, averse to spousal love ? 
Canst thou, Penelope, when heaven restores 
Thy lost Ulysses to his native shores, 
Canst thou, O cruel ! unconcern'd survey 
Thy lost Ulysses, on this signal day? 
Haste, Euryclea, and despatchful spread 



BOOK XXIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 3*9 

For me, and me alone, the imperial bed ; 

My weary nature craves the balm of rest : 

But Heaven with adamant has arm'd her breast" 

" Ah no ! (she cries) a tender heart I bear, 
A foe to pride > no adamant is there ; 
And now, e'en now it melts ! for sure I see 
Once more Ulysses my beloved in thee ! 
Fix'd in my soul, as when he sail'd to Troy, 
His image dwells ; then haste the bed of joy! 
Haste, from the bridal bower the bed translate, 
Framed by his hand, and be it dress'd in state ! " 

Thus speaks the queen, still dubious, with disguise ; 
Touch'd at her words, the king with warmth replies : 
" Alas for this! waat mortal streni;t i can move 
The enormous burden, who but Heaven above ? 
It mocks the weak attempts of human hands; 
But the whole earth must move if Heaven commands. 
Then hear sure evidence, while we display 
Words seal'd with sacred truth, and truth obey: 
This hand the wonder framed ; an olive spread 
Full in the court its ever-verdant head. 
Vast as some mighty column's bulk, on high 
The huge trunk rose, and heaved into the sky; 
Around the tree I raised a nuptial bower. 
And roof'd defensive of the storm and shower ; 
The spacious valve, with art inwrought, conjoins; 
And the fair dome with polish'd marble shines. 
I lopp'd the branchy head; aloft in twain 
Sever'd the bole, and smooth'd the shining grain; 
Then posts, capacious of the frame, I raise, 
And bore it, regular, from space to space : 
Athwart the frame, at equal distance lie 
Thongs of tough hides, that boast a purple dye; 
Then polishing the whole, the finish'd mould 
With silver shone, with elephant, and gold. 
But if o'erturn'd by rude, ungovern'd hands, 
Or still inviolate the olive stands, 
'Tis thir.e, O Queen, to say, and now impart, 
If fears remain, or doubts distract thy heart." 

While yet he speaks, her powers of life decay, 
She sickens, trembles, falls, and faints away. 
At length recovering, to his arms she flew, 
And strain'd him close, as to his breast she grew: 
The tears pour'd down amain ; and " O (she cries) 
Let not against thy spouse thine anger rise! 
O versed in every turn of human art, 
Forgive the weakness of a woman's heart ! 



320 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XXIII. 

The righteous powers., that mortal lots dispose, 
Decree us to sustain a length of woes, 
And from the flower of life the bliss deny 
To bloom together, fade away, and die. 

let me, let me not thine anger move, 
That I forebore, thus, thus to speak my love ; 
Thus in fond kisses, while the transport warms, 
Pour out my soul, and die within thine arms ! 

1 dreaded fraud! Men, faithless men, betray 
Our easy faith, and make the sex their prey: 
Against the fondness of my heart I strove : 
'Twas caution, O my lord i not want of love. 
Like me had Helen fear'd, with wanton charms 
Ere the fair mischief set two worlds in arms; 
Ere Greece rose dreadful in the avenging day ; 
Thus had she fear'd, she had not gone astray. 
But Heaven, averse to Greece, in wrath decreed 

That she should wander, and that Greece should bleed : 

Blind to the ills that from injustice flow, 

She color'd all our wretched lives with woe. 

But why these sorrows when my lord arrives ? 

I yield, I yield ! my own Ulysses lives ! 

The secrets of the bridal bed are known 

To thee, to me, to Actoris alone 

(My father's present in the spousal hour, 

The sole attendant on our genial bower). 

Since what no eye hath seen thy tongue reveal'd, 

Hard and distrustful as I am, I yield." 

Touch'd to the soul, the kijig with rapture hears, 
Hangs round her neck, and speaks his joy in tears. 
As to the shipwreck'd mariner, the shores 
Delightful rise, when angry Neptune roars : 
Then, when the surge in thunder mounts the sky, 
And gulf'd in crowds at once the sailors die ; 
If one, more happy, while the tempest raves, 
Outlives the tumult of conflicting waves, 
All pale, with ooze deform'd, he views the strand, 
And plunging forth with transport grasps the land : 
The ravish'd queen with equal rapture glows, 
Clasps her loved lord, and to his bosom grows 
Nor had they ended till the morning ray, 
But Pallas backward held the rising day, 
The wheels of night retarding, to detain 
The gay Aurora in the wavy main ; 
Whose'flaming steeds, emerging through the night, 
Beam o'er the eastern hills with streaming light. 
At length Ulysses with a sigh replies : 



BotfK XXIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 



"Yet Fate, yet cruel Fate repose denies; 

A labor long, and hard, remains behind ; 

By heaven above, by hell beneath enjoin'd: 

For to Tiresias through the eternal gates 

Of hell I trode, to learn my future fates. 

But end we here the night demands repose, 

Be deck'd the couch ! and peace awhile, my woes ! " 
To whom the queen : "Thy word we shall obey, 

And deck the couch ; far hence be woes away ; 

Since the just gods, who tread the starry plains, 

Restore thee safe, since my Ulysses reigns. 

But what those perils heaven decrees, impart ; 

Knowledge may grieve, but fear distracts the heart." 
To this the king : " Ah, why must I disclose 

A dreadful story of approaching woes ? 

Why in this hour of transport wound thy ears, 

When thou must learn what I must speak with tears ? 

Heaven, by the Theban ghost, thy spouse decrees, 
Torn from thy arms, to sail a length of seas ; 

From realm to realm, a nation to explore 

Who ne'er knew salt, or heard the billows roar, 

Nor saw gay vessel stem the surgy plain, 

A painted wonder, flying on the main : 

An oar my hand must bear ; a shepherd eyes 

The unknown instrument with strange surprise, 

And calls a corn-van : this upon the plain 

I fix, and hail the monarch of the main ; 

Then bathe his altars with the mingled gore 

Of victims vow'd, a ram, a bull, a boar :. 

Thence swift re-sailing" to my native shores, 

Due victims slay to all the ethereal powers. 

Then Heaven decrees, in peace to end my days, 

And steal myself from life by slow decays ; ' . 

Unknown to pain, in age resign my breath, 

When late stern Neptune points the shaft of death; 

To the dark grave retiring as to rest ; 

My people blessing, by my people bless'd. 

Such future scenes the all-righteous powers display 

By their dread seer,* and such my future day." 

To whom thus firm of soul : " If ripe for death, 
And full of days, thou gently yield thy breath ; 
While Heaven a kind release from ills foreshows, 
Triumph, thou happy victor of thy woes ! " 

But Euryclea, with clespatchful'care, 
And sage Eurynome, the couch prepare ; 



Tiresias. 
21 



322 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XXIII. 

Instant they bid the blazing torch display 
Around the dome an artificial day ; 
Then to repose her steps the matron bends, 
And to the queen Eurynome descends ; 
A torch she bears, to light with guiding fires 
The royal pair ; she guides them, and retires. 
Then instant his fair spouse Ulysses led 
To the chaste love-rites of the nuptial bed. 

And now the blooming youths and sprightly fair 
Cease the gay dance, and to their rest repair ; 
But in discourse the king and consort lay, 
While the soft hours stole unperceived a'way ; 
Intent he hears Penelope disclose 
A mournful story of domestic woes, 
His servants' insults, his invaded bed, 
How his whole flocks and herds exhausted bled, 
His generous wines dishonor'd shed in vain, 
And the wild riots of the suitor-train. 
The king alternate a dire tale relates, 
Of wars, of triumphs, and disastrous fates ; 
All he unfolds ; his listening spouse turns pale 
With pleasing horror at the dreadful tale ; 
Sleepless devours each word ; and hears how slain 
Cicons on Cicons swell the ensanguined plain ; 
How to the land of Lote unbless'd he sails ; 
And images the rills and flowery vales ! 
How dash'd like dogs, his friends the Cyclops tore 
(Not unrevenged), and quaff 'd the spouting gore ; 
How the loud storms in prison bound, he sails 
From friendly ^iolus with prosperous gales : 
Yet fate withstands ! a sudden tempest roars, 
And whirls him groaning from his native shores : 
How fln the barbarous Lasstrigonian coast, 
By savage hands his fleet and friends he lost ; 
How scarce himself survived : he paints the bower, 
The spells of Circe, and her magic power: 
His dreadful journey to the realms beneath, 
To seek Tiresias in the vales of death ; 
How in the doleful mansions he survey'd 
His royal mother, pale Anticlea's shade ; 
And friends in battle slain, heroic ghosts ! 
Then how, unharm'd, he pass'd the Syren-coasts, 
The justling rocks where fierce Charybdis raves, 
And howling Scylla whirls her thunderous waves, 
The cave of death ! How his companions slay 
The oxen sacred to the god of day. 
Till Jove in wrath the rattling tempest guides, 



BOOK XXIII.] THE ODYSSEY. 323 

And whelms the offenders in the roaring tides : 

How struggling through the surge he reach'd the shores 

Of fair Ogygia, and Calypso's bowers ; 

Where the gay blooming nymph constrain'd his stay, 

With sweet, reluctant, amorous delay ; 

And promised, vainly promised, to bestow 

Immortal life, exempt from age and woe : 

How saved from storms Phaeacia's coast h6 trod, 

By great Alcinoiis honor'd as a god, 

Who gave him last his country to behold, 

With change of raiment, brass, and heaps of gold. 

He ended, sinking into sleep, and shares 
A sweet forgetfulness of all his cares. 

Soon as soft slumber eased the toils of day, 
Minerva rushes through the aerial way, 
And bids Aurora with her golden wheels 
Flame from the ocean o'er the eastern hills : 
Uprose Ulysses from the genial bed, 
And thus with thought mature the monarch said : 

" My queen, my consort ! through a length of years 
We drank the cup of sorrow mix'd with tears ; 
Thou, for thy lord : while me the immortal powers 
Detain'd reluctant from my native shores. 
Now, bless'd again by Heaven, the queen display, 
And rule our palace with an equal sway. 
Be it my care, by loans, or martial toils, 
To throng my empty folds with gifts or spoils. 
But now 1 haste to bless Laertes' eyes 
With sight of his Ulysses ere he dies ; 
The good old man, to wasting woes a prey, 
Weeps a sad life in solitude away. 
But hear, though wise ! This morning shall unfold 
The deathful scene, on heroes heroes roll'd. 
Thou with thy maids within the palace stay, 
From all the scene of tumult far away ! " 

He spoke, and sheathed in arms incessant flies 
To wake his son, and bid his friends arise. 
"To arms ! " aloud he cries ; his friends obey, 
With glittering arms their manly limbs array, 
And pass the city gate ; Ulysses leads the way. 
Now flames the rosy dawn, but Pallas shrouds 
The latent warriors in a veil of clouds. 



324 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXIV. 



BOOK XXIV. 

ARGUMENT. 

The souls of the suitors are conducted by Mercury to the infernal shades. Ulysses 
in the country goes to the retirement of his father Laertes ; he finds him busied 
in his garden all alone : the manner of his discovery to him is beautifully described. 
They return together to his lodge, and the king is acknowledged by DoJius and 
the servants. The Ithacensians, led by Eupitltes, the father of Antinous, rise 
against Ulysses, who gives them battle, in which Eupithes is killed by Laertes : 
and the goddess Pallas makes a lasting peace between Ulysses and his subjects, 
which concludes the Odyssey. 

CYLLENIUS now to Pluto's dreary reign 

Conveys the dead, a lamentable train ! 

The golden wand, that causes sleep to fly, 

Or in soft slumber seals the wakeful eye, 

That drives the ghosts to realms of night or day, 

Points out the long uncomfortable way. 

Trembling the spectres glide, and plaintive vent 

Thin, hollow screams, along the deep descent. 

As in the cavern of some rifted den, 

Where flock nocturnal bats, and birds obscene ; 

Cluster'd they hang, till at some sudden shock 

They move, and murmurs run through all the rock' 

So cowering fled the sable heaps of ghosts, 

And such a scream fill'd all the dismal coasts. 

And now they reach'd the earth's remotest ends, 

And now the gates where evening Sol descends, 

And Leucas' rock, and Ocean's utmost streams, 

And now pervade the dusky land of dreams. 

And rest at last, where souls unbodied dwell 

In ever-flowing meads of asphodel. 

The empty forms of men inhabit there, 

Impassive semblance, images of air! 

Nought else are all that shined on earth before : 

Ajax and great Achilles are no more ! 

Yet still a master-ghost, the rest he awed, 

The rest adored him, towering as he trod; 

Stiil at his side is Nestor's son survey'd, 

And loved Patroclus still attends his shade. 

New as they were to that infernal shore. 
The suitors stopp'd, and gazed the hero o'er. 



BOOK XXIV.] ' THE ODYSSEY. 325 

When, moving slow, the regal form they view'd 
Of great Atrides : him in pomp pursued 
And solemn sadness through the gloom of hell, 
The train of those who by ygysthus fell : 

" O mighty chief ! (Pelides thus began) 
Honor'd by Jove above the lot of man ! 
King of a hundred kings ! to whom resign'd 
The strongest, bravest, greatest of mankind, 
Comest thou the first, to view this dreary state ? 
And was the noblest, the first mark of Fate, 
Condemn'd to pay the great arrear so soon, 
The lot, which all" lament, and none can shun ! 
Oh ! better hadst thou sunk in Trojan ground. 
With all thy full-blown honors cover'd round ; 
Then grateful Greece with streaming eyes might raise 
Historic marbles to record thy praise : 
Thy praise eternal on the faithful stone 
Had with transmissive glories graced thy son. 
But heavier fates were destined to attend : 
What man is happy, till he knows his end ? " 

"O son of Peleus ! greater than mankind ! 
(Thus Agamemnon's kingly shade rejoin'd) 
Thrice happy thou, to press the martial plain 
'Midst heaps of heroes in thy quarrel slain: 
In clouds of smoke raised by the noble fray, 
Great and terrific e'en in death you lay, 
And deluges of blood flow'd round you every way. 
Nor ceased the strife till Jove himself opposed, 
And all in tempests the dire evening closed. 
Then to the fleet we bore thy honor'd load, 
And decent on the funeral bed bestow'd: 
Then unguents sweet and tepid streams we shed ; 
Tears flow'd from every eye, and o'er the dead 
Each clipp'd the curling honors of his head. 
Struck at the news, thy azure mother came, 
The sea-green sisters waited on the dame : 
A voice of loud lament through all the main 
Was heard ; and terror seized the Grecian train : 
Back to their ships the frighted host had fled ; 
But Nestor spoke, they listen'd and obey'd 
(From old experience Nestor's counsel springs, 
And long vicissitudes of human things): 
' Forbear your flight : fair Thetis from the main 
To mourn Achilles leads her azure train.' 
Around thee stand the daughters of the deep, 
Robe thee in heavenly vests, and round thee weep 
Round thee, the Muses, with alternate strain, 



3 2 <> THE ODYSSEY. ' [BOOK XXIV. 

In ever-consecrating verse, complain. 

Each warlike Greek the moving music hears, 

And iron-hearted heroes melt in tears. 

Till seventeen nights and seventeen clays return'd 

All that was mortal or immortal mourn'd, 

To flames we gave tliee, the succeeding day, 

And fatted sheep and sable oxen slay ; 

With oils and honey blazed the augmented fires, 

And, like a god adorn'd, thy earthly part expires. 

Unnumber'd warriors round the burning pile 

Urge the fleet coursers or the racer's toil; 

Thick clouds of dust o'er all the circle rise, 

And the mix'd clamor thunders in the skies. 

Soon as absorb'd in all-embracing flame 

Sunk what was mortal of thy mighty name, 

We then collect thy snowy bones, and place 

With wines and unguents in a golden vase 

(The vase to Thetis Bacchus gave of old, 

And Vulcan's art enrich'd the sculptured gold). 

There, we thy relics, great Achilles ! blend 

With dear Patroclus, thy departed friend : 

In the same urn a separate space contains 

Thy next beloved, Antilochus' remains. 

Now all the sons of warlike Greece surround 

Thy destined tomb, and cast a mighty mound; 

High on the shore the growing hill we raise, 

That wide the extended Hellespont surveys; 

Where all, from age to age, who pass the coast, 

May point Achilles' tomb, and hail the mighty ghost. 

Thetis herself to all our peers proclaims 

Heroic prizes and exequial games ; 

The gods assented ; and around thee lay 

Rich spoils and gifts that blazed against the day. 

Oft have I seen with solemn funeral games 

Heroes and kings committed to the flames ; 

But strength of youth, or valor of the brave, 

With nobler contest ne'er renown'd a grave. 

Such were the games by azure Thetis given, 

And such thy honors, O beloved of Heaven ! 

Dear to mankind thy fame survives, nor fades 

Its bloom eternal in the Stygian shades. 

But what to me avail my honors gone, 

Successful toils, and battles bravely won? 

Doom'd by stern Jove at home to end my life, 

By cursed ^gysthus, and a faithless wife ! " 

Thus they: while Hermes o'er the dreary plain 
Led the sad numbers by Ulysses slain. 



BOOK XXIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 327 

On each majestic form they cast a view, 
And timorous pass'd, and awfully withdrew. 

ut Agamemnon, through the gloomy shade, 
His ancient host Amphimedon survey'd : 
"Son of Melanthius ! (he began) O say ! 
What cause compell'd so many, and so gay, 
To tread the downward, melancholy way ? 
Say, could one city yield a troop so fair ? 
Were all these partners of one native air ? 
Or did the rage of stormy Neptune sweep 
Your lives at once, and whelm beneath the deep ? 
Did nightly thieves, or pirates' cruel bands, 
Drench with your blood your pillaged country's sands ? 
Or well-defending some beleaguer'd wall, 
Say, for the public did ye greatly fall ? 
Inform thy guest : for such I was of yore 
When our triumphant navies touch'd your shore ; 
Forced a long month the wintry seas to bear, 
To move the great Ulysses to the war." 

" O king of men ! I faithful shall relate 
(Replied Amphimedon) our hapless fate. 
Ulysses absent, our ambitious aim 
With rival loves pursued his royal dame ; 
Her coy reserve, and prudence mix'd with pride, 
Our common suit nor granted, nor denied; 
But close with inward hate our deaths design'd ; 
Versed in all arts of wily womankind. 
Her hand, laborious, in delusion spread 
A spacious loom, and mix'd the various thread. 
' Ye peers (she cried) who press to gain my heart, 
Where dead Ulysses claims no more a part, 
Yet a short space your rival suit suspend, 
Till this funereal web my labors end : 
Cease, till to good Laertes I bequeath 
A task of grief, his ornaments of death : 
Lest when the Fates his royal ashes claim, 
The Grecian matrons taint my spotless fame ; 
Should he, long honor'd with supreme command, 
Want the last duties of a daughter's hand.' 

"The fiction pleased, our generous train complies, 
Nor fraud mistrusts in virtue's fair disguise. 
The work she plied, but studious of delay, 
Each following night reversed the toils of day. 
Unheard, unseen, three years her arts prevail ; 
The fourth, her maid reveal'd the amazing tale, 
And show'd, as unperceived we took our stand, 
The backward labors of her faithless hand. 



328 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXIV. 

Forced she completes it ; and before us lay 
The mingled web, whose gold and silver ray 
Display'd the radiance of the night and day. 

" Just as she finish'd her illustrious toil, 
111 fortune led Ulysses to our isle. 
Far in a lonely nook, beside the sea, 
At an old swineherd's rural lodge he lay : 
Thither his son from sandy Pyle repairs, 
And speedy lands, and secretly confers. 
They plan our future ruin, and resort 
Confederate to the city and the court. 
First came the son ; the father next succeeds, 
Clad like a beggar, whom Eumaeus leads ; 
Propp'd on a staff, deform'd with age and care, 
And hung with rags that flutter'd in the air. 
Who could Ulysses in that form behold ? 
Scorn'd by the young, forgotten by the old, 
Ill-used by all! to every wrong resign'd, 
Patient he suffer'd with a constant mind. 
But when, arising in his wrath to obey 
The will of Jove, he gave the vengeance way : 
The scatter'd arms that hung around the dome 
Careful he treasured in a private room ; 
Then to her suitors bade his queen propose 
The archer's strife, the source of future woes, 
And omen of our death ! In vain we drew 
The twanging string, and tried the stubborn yew: .. 
To none it yields but great Ulysses' hands ; 
In vain we threat: Telemachus commands '. 
The bow he snatca'd, and in ail instant bent; 
Through every ring the victor arrow went. 
Fierce on the threshold then in arms he stood; 
Pour'd forth the darts that thirsted for our blood, 
And frown'd before us, dreadful as a god ! 
First bleeds Antir.oiis : thick the shafts resound. 
And heaps on heaps the wretches strew the ground ; 
This way, and that, we turn, we fly, we fall ; 
Some god assisted, and unmann'd us all : 
Ignoble cries precede the dying groans; 
And batter'd brains and blood besmear the stones. 

" Thus, great Atrides, thus Ulysses drove 
The shades thou seest from your fair realms above 
Our mangled bodies now deform'd with gore, 
Cold and neglected, spread the marble floor. 
No friend to'bathe our wounds, or tears to shed 
O'er the pale corse ! the honors of the dead." 

" Oh bless'd Ulysses ! (thus the king express'd 



BOOK XXIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 329 



His sudden rapture) in thy consort bless'd ! 
Not more thy wisdom than her virtue shined ; 
Not more thy patience than her constant mind. 
Icarius' daughter, glory of the past. 
And model to the future age, shall last: 
The gods, to honor her fair fame, shall rise 
(Their great reward) a poet in her praise. 
Not such, O Tyndarus ! thy daughter's deed, 
By whose dire hand her king and husband bled j 
Her shall the Muse to infamy prolong, 
Example dread, and theme of tragic song! 
The general sex shall suffer in her shame, 
And e'en the best that bears a woman's name." 

Thus in the regions of eternal shade 
Conferr'd the mournful phantoms of the dead ; 
While from the town, Ulysses and his band 
Pass'd to Laertes' cultivated land. 
The ground himself had purchased with his pain, 
And labor made the rugged soil a plain. 
There stood his mansion of the rural sort, 
With useful buildings round the lowly court ; 
Where the few servants that divide his care 
Took their laborious rest, and homely fare ; 
And one Sicilian matron, old and sage, 
With constant duty tends his drooping age. 

Here now arriving, to his rustic band 
And martial son, Ulysses gave command: 
" Enter the house, and of the bristly swine 
Select the largest of the powers divine. 
Alone, and unattended, let me try 
If yet I share the old man's memory : 
If those dim eyes can yet Ulysses know 
(Their light and dearest object long ago), 
Now changed with time, with absence, and with woe ; 
Then to his train he gives his spear and shield ; 
The house they enter ; and he seeks the field, 
Through rows of shade, with various fruitage crown'd, 
And labor'd scenes of richest verdure round, 
Nor aged Dolius, nor his sons, were there, 
Nor servants, absent on another care ; 
To search the woods for sets of flowery thorn, 
Their orchard bounds to strengthen and adorn. 

But all alone the hoary king he found ; 
His habit coarse, but warmly wrapp'd around; 
His head, that bow'd with many a pensive care 
Fenced with a double cap of goatskin hair : 
His buskins old, in former service torn, 



33 THE ODYSSEY. [BooK XXIV 

But well repair'd ; and gloves against the thorn. 

In this array the kingly gardener stood, 

And clear'd a plant, encumber'd with its wood. 

Beneath a neighboring tree, the chief divine 
Gazed o'er his sire, retracing every line, 
The ruins of himself, now worn away 
With age, yet still majestic in. decay ! 
Sudden his eyes released their watery store ; 
The much-enduring man could bear no more. 
Doubtful he stood, if instant to embrace 
His aged limbs, to kiss his reverend face, 
With eager transport to disclose the whole, 
And pour at once the torrent of his soul. . 
Not so : his judgment takes the winding way 
Of question distant, and of soft essay ; 
Nore gentle methods on weak age employs : 
And moves the sorrows to enhance the joys. 
Then, to his sir^. with beating heart he moves, 
And with a tender pleasantry reproves ; 
Who digging round the plant still hangs his head, 
Nor ought remits the work, while thus he said : 

" Great is thy skill, O father ! great thy toil, 
Thy careful hand is stamp'd on all the soil, 
Thy squadron'd vineyards well thy art declare, 
The olive green, blue fig, and pendent pear ; 
And not one empty spot escapes thy care. 
On every plant and tree thy cares are shown, 
Nothing neglected, but thyself alone. 
Forgive me, father, if this fault I blame ; 
Age so advanced, may some indulgence claim. 
Not for thy sloth, I deem thy lord unkind : 
Nor speaks thy form a mean or servile mind ; 
I read a monarch in that princely air, 
The same thy aspect, if the same thy care ; 
Soft sleep, fair garments, and the joys of wine, 
These are the rights of age, and should be thine. 
Who then thy master, say ? and whose the land 
So dress'd and managed by thy skilful hand ? 
But chief, oh tell me (what I question most) 1 
Is this the far-famed Ithacensian coast ? 
For so reported the first man I view'd 
(Some surly islander, of manners rude), 
Nor farther conference vouchsafed to stay ; 
Heedless he whistled, and pursued his way. 
Bat thou, whom year? have taught to understand, 
Humanely hear, and answer my demand : 
A friend I seek, a wise one and a brave : 



BOOK XXIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 331 

Say, lives he yet, or moulders in the grave ? 
Time was (my fortunes then were at the best) 
. When at my house I lodged this foreign guest ; 
He said, from Ithaca's fair isle he came, 
And old Laertes was his father's name. 
To him, whatever to a guest is owed 
I paid, and hospitable gifts bestow'd : 
To him seven talents of pure ore I told, 
Twelve cloaks, twelve vests, twelve tunics stiff with gold ; 
A bowl, that rich with polish'd silver flames, 
And, skill'd in female works, four lovely dames." 

At this the father, with a father's fears 
(His venerable eyes bedimm'd with tears) : 
"This is the land ; but ah ! thy gifts are lost, 
For godless men, and rude possess the coast : 
Sunk is the glory of this once-famed shore ! 
Thy ancient friend, O stranger, is no more ! 
Full recompense thy bounty else had borne ; 
For every good man yields a just return : 
So civil rights demand; and who begins 
The track of friendship, not pursuing, sins. 
But tell me, stranger, be the truth confess'd, 
What years have circled since thou saw'st that guest ? 
That hapless guest, alas ! forever gone ! 
Wretch that he was ! and that I am ! my son ! 
If ever man to misery was born, 
'Twas his to suffer, and 'tis mine to mourn ! 
Far from his friends, and from his native reign, 
He lies a prey to monsters of the main ; 
Or savage beasts his mangled relics tear, 
Or screaming vultures scatter through the air : 
Nor could his mother funeral unguents shed; 
Nor wail'd his father o'er the untimely dead : 
Nor his sad consort, on the mournful bier, 
Seal'd his cold eyes, or dropp'd a tender tear! 

" But, tell me who thou art ? and what thy race ? 
Thy town, thy parents, and thy native place ? 
Or, if a merchant in pursuit of gain, 
What port received thy vessel from the main ? 
Or comest thou single or attend thy train ? " 
Then thus the son : " From Alybas I came, 
My palace there; Eperitus my name. 
Not vulgar born : from Aphidas, the king 
Of Polyphemon's royal line, I spring. 
Some adverse demon from Sicania bore 
Our wandering course, and drove us on your shore ; 
Far from the town, an unfrequented bay 



33 2 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXIV. 

Relieved our wearied vessel from the sea. 
Five years have circled since these eyes pursued 
Ulysses parting through the sable flood : 
Prosperous he sail'd, with dexter auguries, 
And all the wing'd good omens of the skies. 
Well hoped we then to meet on this fair shore, 
Whom Heaven, alas ! decreed to meet no more." 

Quick through the father's heart these accents ran ; 
Grief seized at once, and wrapp'd up all the man : 
Deep from his soul he siglrd, and sorrowing spread 
A cloud of ashes on his hoary head. 
Trembling with agonies of strong delight 
Stood the great son, heart-wounded with the sight: 
He ran, he seized him with a strict embrace, 
With thousand kisses wander'd o'er his face : 
" I, I am he; O father, rise! behold 
Thy son, with twenty winters now grown old; 
Thy son, so long desired, so long detain'd, 
Restored, and breathing in his native land : 
These floods of sorrow, O my sire, restrain ! 
The vengeance is complete ; the suitor train, 
Stretch'd in our palace, by these hands lie slain.' 

Amazed, Laertes : " Give some,certain sign 
(If such thou art) to manifest thee mine." 

"Lo here the wound (he cries) received of yore, 
The s"car indented by the tusky boar, 
When, by thyself, and by Anticlea sent, 
To old Autolycus's realms I went. 
Yet by another sign thy offspring know : 
The several trees you gave me long ago, 
While yet a child, these fields I loved to trace, 
And trod thy footsteps with unequal pace ; 
To every plant in order as we came, 
Well-pleased, you told its nature and its name, 
Whate'er my childish fancy ask'd, bestow'd : 
Twelve pear trees, bowing with their pendent load, 
And ten, that red with blushing apples glow'd ; 
Full fifty purple figs ; and many a row 
Of various vines that then began to blow, 
A future vintage ! when the Hours produce 
Their latent buds, and Sol exalts the juice." 

Smit with the signs which all his doubts explain, 
His heart within him melts ; his knees sustain 
Their feeble weight no more : his arms alone 
Support him, round the loved Ulysses thrown ; 
He faints, he sinks, with mighty 'joys oppress'd : 
Ulysses clasps him to his eager breast. 



BOOK XXIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 333 



Soon as returning life regains its seat, 

And his breath lengthens, and his pulses beat : 

Yes, I believe he (cries), almighty Jove ! 
Heaven rules us yet, and gods there are above. 
"Tis so the suitors for their wrongs have paid 
But what shall guard us, if the town invade ! 
If, while the news through every city flies, 
All Ithaca and Cephalenia rise ? " 

To this Ulysses : " As the gods shall please 
Be all the rest : and set thy soul at ease- 
Haste to the cottage by this orchard's side, 
And take the banquet which our cares provide : 
There wait thy faithful band of rural friends, 
And there the' young Telemachus attends." 

Thus having said, they traced the garden o'er, 
And stooping enter'd at the lowly door. 
The swains and young Telemachus they found,* 
The vjctim portion'd, and the goblet crown'd. 
The hoary king, his old Sicilian maid 
Perfumed and wash'd, and gorgeously array'd. 
Pallas attending gives his frame to shine 
With awful port, and majesty divine ; 
His gazing son admires the godlike grace, 
And air celestial dawning o'er his face. 
" What god (he cried) my father's form improves ? 
How high he treads, and how enlarged he moves ! " 
. " Oh ! would to all the deathless powers on high, 
Pallas and Jove, and him who gilds the sky! 
(Replied the king elated with his praise) 
My strength were still, as once in better days : 
When the bold Cephalens the leaguer form'd, 
And proud Nericus trembled as I storm'd. 
Such were I now, not absent from your deed 
When the last sun beheld the suitors bleed. 
This arm had aided yours, this hand bestrewn 
Our shores with death, and push'd the slaughter on ; 
Nor had the sire been separate from the son." 

They communed thus; while homeward bent their way 
The swains, fatigued with labors of the day : 
Dolius the first, the venerable man ; 
And next his sons, a long succeeding train. 



* The swains and young Telcmachus. " It maybe worth while also to observe the 
different economy of the households of Penelope and of Laertes, and to consider them 
as representing in some decree the later and the elder system ; to observe the sepa- 
ration and subordination of the slaves, and the organized service of the one, and the 
familiarity and almost equal ministry of master and servant in the other.'* Coleridge, 
p. 235. 



334. THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXIV. 

For due refection to the bower they came, 

Call'd by the careful old. Sicilian dame, 

Who nursed the children, and now tends the sire ; 

They see their lord, they gaze, and they admire. 

On chairs and beds in order seated round, 

They share the gladsome board ; the roofs resound, 

While thus Ulysses to his ancient friend : 

" Forbear your wonder and the feast attend : 

The rites have waited long." The chief commands 

Their love in vain ; old Dolius spreads his hands, 

Springs to his master with a warm embrace, 

And fastens kisses on his hands arid face ; 

Then thus broke out: "O long, O daily mourn'd ! 

Beyond our hopes, and to our wish return'd ! 

Conducted sure by Heaven! for Heaven alone 

Could work this wonder : welcome to thy own ! 

And joys and happiness attend thy throne ! 

Who knows thy bless'd, thy wish'd return ? oh say, 

To the chaste queen shall we the news convey ? 

Or hears she, and with blessings loads the day ? 

" Dismiss that care, for to the royal bride 
Already is it known " (the king replied, 
And straight resumed his seat) ; while round him bows 
Each faithful youth, and breathes out ardent vows : 
Then all beneath their father take their place, 
Rank'd by their ages, and the banquet grace. 

Now flying Fame the swift report had spread 
Through all the city, of the suitors dead. 
In throngs they rise, and to the palace crowd ; 
Their sighs were many, and the tumult loud. 
Weeping they bear the mangled heaps of slain 
Inhume the natives in their native plain, 
The rest in ships are wafted o'er the main. 
Then sad in council all the seniors sate, 
Frequent and full, assembled to debate : 
Amid the circle first Eupithes rose, 
Big was his eye with tears, his heart with woes : 
The bold Antinoiis was his age's pride, 
The first who by Ulysses' arrow died. 
Down his wan cheek the trickling torrent ran, 
As mixing words with sighs he thus began : 

" Great deeds, O friends ! this wondrous man has wrought, 
And mighty blessings to his country brought ! 
With ships he parted, and a numerous train, 
Those, and their ships, he buried in the main. 
Now he returns, and first essays his hand . 
In the best blood of all his native land. 



BOOK XXIV.] THE ODYSSEY. 335 

Haste then, and ere to neighboring Pyle he flies, 

Or sacred Elis, to procure supplies ; 

Arise (or ye forever fall), arise ! 

Shame to this age, and all that shall succeed ! 

If unrevenged your sons and brothers bleed. 

Prove that we live, by vengeance on his head, 

Or sink at once forgotten with the dead." 

Here ceased he, but indignant tears let fall 
Spoke when he ceased : dumb sorrow touch'd them all. 
When from the palace to the wondering throng 
Sage Medon came, and Phemius came along 
(Restless and early sleep's soft bands they broke) ; 
And Medon first the assembled chiefs bespoke : 

" Hear me, ye peers and elders of the land, 
Who deem this act the work of mortal hand ; 
As o'er the heaps of death Ulysses strode, 
These eyes, these eyes beheld a present god, 
Who now before him, now behind him stood, 
Fough't as he fought, and mark'd his way with blood : 
In vain old Mentor's form the god belied ; 
'Twas Heaven that struck, and Heaven was on his side.' 

A sudden horror all the assembly shook, 
When slowly rising, Halitherses spoke 
(Reverend and wise, whose comprehensive view 
At once the present and the future knew): 
" Me too, ye fathers, hear ! from you proceed 
The ills ye mourn ; your own the guilty deed. 
Ye gave your sons, your lawless sons, the rein 
(Oft warn'd by Mentor and myself in vain) ; 
An absent hero's bed they sought to soil, 
An absent hero's wealth they made their spoil; 
Immoderate riot, and intemperate lust ! 
The offence was great, the punishment was just. 
Weigh then my counsels in an equal scale, 
Nor rush to ruin. Justice will prevail." 

His moderate words some better minds persuade: 
They part, and join him : but the number stay'd. 
They storm, they shout, with hasty frenzy fired, 
And second all Eupithes' rage inspired. 
They case their limbs in brass ; to arms they run ; 
The broad effulgence blazes in the sun. 
Before the city, and in ample plain, 
They meet: Eupithes heads the frantic train. 
Fierce for his son, he breathes his threats in air; 
Fate hears them not, and Death attends him there. 

This pass'd on earth, while in the realms above 
Minerva thus to cloud-compelling Jove : 



33 6 THE ODYSSEY. [BOOK XXIV. 

" May I presume to search thy secret soul ? 
O Power Supreme, O Ruler of the whole ! 
Say, hast thou doom'd to this divided state 
Or peaceful amity, or stern debate ? 
Declare thy purpose, for thy will is fate." 

'" Is not thy thought my own ? (the god replies 
Who rolls the thunder o'er the vaulted skies) ; 
Hath not long since thy knowing soul decreed 
The chief's return should make the guilty bleed ? 
'Tis done, and at thy will the fates succeed. 
Yet hear the issue : Since Ulysses' hand 
Has slain the suitors, Heaven shall bless the land. 
None now the kindred of the unjust shall own ; 
Forgot the slaughter'd brother and the son : 
Each future day increase of wealth shall bring, 
And o'er the past Oblivion stretch her wing. 
Long shall Ulysses in his empire rest, 
His people blessing, by his people bless'd. 
Let all be peace." He said, and gave the nod 
That binds the Fates ; the sanction of the god: 
And prompt to execute the eternal will, 
Descended Pallas from the Olympian hill. 

Now sat Ulysses at the rural feast. 
The rage of hunger and of thirst repress'd : 
To watch the foe a trusty spy he sent ; 
A son of Dolius on the message went, 
Stood in the way, and at a glance beheld 
The foe approach, embattled on the field. 
With backward step he hastens to the bower, 
And tells the news. They arm with all their power. 
Four friends alone Ulysses' cause embrace, 
And six were all the sons of Dolius' race : 
Old Dolius too his rusted arms put on : 
And, still more old, in arms Laertes shone. 
Trembling with warmth, the hoary heroes stand, 
And brazen panoply invests the band. 
The opening gates at once their war display : 
Fierce they rush forth : Ulysses leads the way. 
That moment joins them with celestial aid, 
In Mentor's form, the Jove-descended maid : 
The suffering hero felt his patient breast 
Swell with new joy, and thus his son address'd : 

" Behold, Telemachus ! (nor fear the sight), 
The brave embattled, the grim front of fight ! 
The valiant with the valiant must contend : 
Shame not the line whence glorious you descend. 
Wide o'er the world their martial fame was spread ; 



BOOK XXIV. THE ODYSSEY. 



Regard thyself, the living, and the dead." 

"Thy eyes, great father! on this battle cast, 
Shall learn from me Penelope was chaste." 

So spoke Telemachus : the gallant boy 
Good old Laertes heard with panting joy : 
"And bless'd ! thrice bless'd this happy day! (he cries), 
The day that shows me, ere I close my eyes, 
A son and grandson of the Arcesian name 
Strive for fair virtue, and contest for fame ! " 

Then thus Minerva in Laertes' ear: 
" Son of Arcesius, reverend warrior, hear ! 
Jove and Jove's daughter first implore in prayer, 
Then, whirling high, discharge thy lance in air." 
She said, infusing courage with the word. 
Jove and Jove's daughter then the chief implored, 
And, whirling high, dismiss'd the lance in air. 
Full at Eupithes drove the deathful spear : 
The brass-cheek'd helmet opens to the wound ; 
He falls, earth thunders, and his arms resound. 

Before the father and the conquering son 
Heaps rush on heaps, they fight, they drop, they run. 
Now by the sword, and now the javelin, fall 
The rebel race, and death had swallovv'd all ; 
But from on high the blue-eyed virgin cried ; 
Her awful voice detain'd the headlong tide > 
" Forbear, ye nations, your mad hands forbear 
From mutual slaughter ; Peace descends to spare." 
Fear shook the nations : at the voice divine 
They drop their javelins, and their rage resign. 
All scatter'd round their glittering weapons lie ; 
Some fall to earth, and some confusedly fly. 
With dreadful shouts Ulysses pour'd along, 
Swift as an eagle, as an eagle strong. 
But Jove's red arm the burning thunder aims ; 
Before Minerva shot the livid flames ; 
Blazing they fell, and at her feet expired ; 
Then stopped the goddess, trembled, and retired. 

" Descended from the gods ! Ulysses, cease ; 
Offend not Jove : obey, and give the peace." 

So Pallas spoke : tlie mandate from above 
The king obey'd. The virgin-seed of Jove, 
In Mentor's form, confirm'd the full accord, 
And willing nations knew their lawful lord. 
22 



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